Liver metastases are the most frequent cause of death due to colorectal cancer (CRC). Syngeneic orthotopic animal models, based on the grafting of cancer cells or tissue in host liver, are efficient systems for studying liver tumors and their (patho)physiological environment. Here we describe selective portal vein injection as a novel tool to generate syngeneic orthotopic models of liver tumors that avoid most of the weaknesses of existing syngeneic models. By combining portal vein injection of cancer cells with the selective clamping of distal liver lobes, tumor growth is limited to specific lobes. When applied on MC-38 CRC cells and their mouse host C57BL6, selective portal vein injection leads with 100% penetrance to MRI-detectable tumors within 1 wk, followed by a steady growth until the time of death (survival ∼7 wk) in the absence of extrahepatic disease. Similar results were obtained using CT-26 cells and their syngeneic Balb/c hosts. As a proof of principle, lobe-restricted liver tumors were also generated using Hepa1-6 (C57BL6-syngeneic) and TIB-75 (Balb/c-syngeneic) hepatocellular cancer cells, demonstrating the general applicability of selective portal vein injection for the induction of malignant liver tumors. Selective portal vein injection is technically straightforward, enables liver invasion via anatomical routes, preserves liver function, and provides unaffected liver tissue. The tumor models are reproducible and highly penetrant, with survival mainly dependent on the growth of lobe-restricted liver malignancy. These models enable biological studies and preclinical testing within short periods of time.
- murine model of liver cancer
- colorectal cancer
- hepatocellular carcinoma
- Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society
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