A novel animal model of human breast cancer metastasis to the spine: a pilot study using intracardiac injection and luciferase-expressing cells

Presented at the 2012 Spine Section Meeting 

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  • 1 Departments of Neurosurgery and
  • 2 Pathology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, Maryland
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Object

Metastatic spine disease is prevalent in cancer victims; 10%–30% of the 1.2 million new patients diagnosed with cancer in the US exhibit spinal metastases. Unfortunately, treatments are limited for these patients, as disseminated disease is often refractory to chemotherapy and is difficult to treat with surgical intervention alone. New animal models that accurately recapitulate the human disease process are needed to study the behavior of metastases in real time.

Methods

In this study the authors report on a cell line that reliably generates bony metastases following intracardiac injection and can be tracked in real time using optical bioluminescence imaging. This line, RBC3, was derived from a metastatic breast adenocarcinoma lesion arising in the osseous spine of a rat following intracardiac injection of MDA-231 human breast cancer cells.

Results

Upon culture and reinjection of RBC3, a statistically significantly increased systemic burden of metastatic tumor was noted. The resultant spine lesions were osteolytic, as demonstrated by small animal CT scanning.

Conclusions

This cell line generates spinal metastases that can be tracked in real time and may serve as a useful tool in the study of metastatic disease in the spine.

Abbreviations used in this paper:BLI = bioluminescence imaging; FBS = fetal bovine serum; SARRP = small animal radiation research platform; VB = vertebral body.

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Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to: Daniel Sciubba, M.D., 600 North Wolfe Street, Meyer 5-185, Baltimore, Maryland 21287. email: dsciubb1@jhmi.edu.

Please include this information when citing this paper: published online December 21, 2012; DOI: 10.3171/2012.11.SPINE12325.

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