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Development of an ErbB-overexpressing A-431 Optical Reporting Tumor Xenograft Model to Assess Targeted Photodynamic Therapy Regimens


Corresponding author email: (Mark D. Savellano)


To better assess the efficacy of erbB-targeted therapies, it would help to have optical reporting human tumor xenograft models that abundantly express erbB receptors. A-431 cells have frequently been used in erbB1-targeting studies, but a well-characterized optical reporting version of the cell line has not been readily available. In this study, optical reporting A-431 clones were developed that express both a fluorescent protein reporter (green, GFP; or red, RFP) and a bioluminescent reporter, firefly luciferase. Reporter genes were transduced into cells using commercial lentiviral vectors, and clonal selection was carried out using a series of procedures. A number of clones were isolated for further characterization. A GFP/luciferase clone, A-431/D4, and an RFP/luciferase clone, A-431/G4, were obtained that exhibit erbB1 expression levels and tumor growth kinetics similar to the parental cells. To demonstrate the utility of the optical reporting clones, A-431/G4 tumors were grown subcutaneously in nude mice and treated with vascular-targeted photodynamic therapy (PDT), which targets the angiogenic consequences of erbB signaling. The A-431/G4 tumor model permitted highly sensitive longitudinal monitoring of PDT treatment response using optical imaging. A-431/D4 and A-431/G4 optical reporting tumor models should also prove useful for assessing therapies that directly target the erbB1 receptor.

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