MO-F-CAMPUS-I-04: Magnetic Resonance Imaging of An in Vitro 3D Tumor Model




To investigate the use of an in vitro 3D tumor model (tumoroid) as a bio-phantom for repetitive and sequential magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies.


The tissue engineered tumoroid comprised an artificial cancer mass (ACM) containing 30 million HT29 cancer cells seeded in a collagen type I matrix, whose density was increased by plastic compression (dry/wet weight=40%). The ACM was embedded in an uncompressed collagen gel that mimicked the tumor stroma, and the tumoroid was incubated for 24h before imaging. Images were acquired using the 1T ICON™ (Bruker Corporation, Billerica, MA) MRI scanner. T1 maps were calculated using an IR-RARE sequence (TE=12ms, TR=10000ms, 7 inversion times), while for T2 maps a MSME technique (TR=6000ms, 16 echoes) was used. T1 and T2 fittings were performed using a pixel-wise approach to produce relaxometric parametric maps.


The images acquired and corresponding T1 and T2 maps indicate contrast between the ACM and the stroma. T1 was 2500 and 2800ms, while T2 was 520 and 760ms, for the ACM and stroma respectively. The ACM construct was not homogenous and internal features were visible, which can be explained by local gradients of cell and/or collagen density. The viability of the cells was confirmed via confocal microscopy for several days after the imaging session, demonstrating the suitability of the tumoroid for sequential imaging studies.


We have engineered a tumor model compatible with repetitive and sequential MRI. We found T1 and T2 contrast between the ACM and stroma using a pre-clinical MRI scanner. The model, which enables controllable cell and matrix densities, has potential for a wide range of applications in radiotherapy, such as to study tumor progression and to validate imaging biomarkers. Further work is necessary to understand the mechanisms behind the contrast achieved, and to correlate findings with biology and histology data.