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Open Access Contrast Agents for Quantitative MicroCT of Lung Tumors in Mice

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The identification and quantitative evaluation of lung tumors in mouse models is challenging and an unmet need in preclinical arena. In this study, we developed a noninvasive contrast-enhanced microCT (μCT) method to longitudinally evaluate and quantitate lung tumors in mice. Commercially available μCT contrast agents were compared to determine the optimal agent for visualization of thoracic blood vessels and lung tumors in na├»ve mice and in non-small-cell lung cancer models. Compared with the saline control, iopamidol and iodinated lipid agents provided only marginal increases in contrast resolution. The inorganic nanoparticulate agent provided the best contrast and visualization of thoracic vascular structures; the density contrast was highest at 15 min after injection and was stable for more than 4 h. Differential contrast of the tumors, vascular structures, and thoracic air space by the nanoparticulate agent enabled identification of tumor margins and accurate quantification. μCT data correlated closely with traditional histologic measurements (Pearson correlation coefficient, 0.995). Treatment of ELM4–ALK mice with crizotinib yielded 65% reduction in tumor size and thus demonstrated the utility of quantitative μCT in longitudinal preclinical trials. Overall and among the 3 agents we tested, the inorganic nanoparticulate product was the best commercially available contrast agent for visualization of thoracic blood vessels and lung tumors. Contrast-enhanced μCT imaging is an excellent noninvasive method for longitudinal evaluation during preclinical lung tumor studies.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Comparative Medicine, Pfizer, San Diego, California 2: Oncology Research Unit, Pfizer, San Diego, California 3: Drug Safety Research and Development, Pfizer, San Diego, California 4: Comparative Medicine, Pfizer, San Diego, California;, Email:

Publication date: 2013-12-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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