• Open Access

Imaging study of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas in Syrian hamsters using X-ray micro-computed tomography (CT)


To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: toimai@ncc.go.jp


X-ray computed tomography (CT) has been used for diagnoses of human pancreatic cancer. Although micro-CT is a useful approach to evaluate macromorphology of organs/tissue also in animal models, reports on pancreatic tumors are limited. In this study, the utility of micro-CT was assessed in characterizing chemically induced pancreatic tumors in Syrian hamsters. Hamsters treated with or without N-nitrosobis(2-oxopropyl)amine (BOP) were injected with the antispasmodic agent, scopolamine butylbromide, and contrast agents, 5 or 10 mL/kg body weight of iopamidol or Fenestra VC at 18–38 weeks, then examined by micro-CT scanning with a respiratory gating system. Both peristaltic and respiratory movements were substantially suppressed by the combination of scopolamine butylbromide treatment and the respiratory gating system, resulting in improvements of image qualities. Iopamidol clearly visualized the pancreatic parenchyma and contrasted the margins among the pancreas and other abdominal organs/tissue. Meanwhile Fenestra VC predominantly contrasted abdominal vascular systems, but the margins among pancreas and other organs/tissue remained obscure. Six pancreatic tumors of 4–13 mm in diameter were detected in four of 15 animals, but not the five tumors of 1–4 mm in diameter. The inner tumor images were heterogeneously or uniformly visualized by iopamidol and Fenestra VC. Overall, iopamidol could clearly contrast between pancreatic parenchyma and the tumors as compared with Fenestra VC. All tumors confirmed were histopathologically diagnosed as pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas. Thus, micro-CT could be useful to evaluate the carcinogenic processes and preventive methods of pancreatic cancer in hamsters and to assess the novel contrast agents for detection of small pancreatic cancer in humans. (Cancer Sci 2010)