Quantitative assessment of glioblastoma invasion in vivo

P. Mourad, Lindi Farrell, L. Stamps, P. Santiago, Helen Fillmore, W. Broaddus, D. Silbergeld

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The aim of this study was the quantitative assessment of the time course and spatial distribution in brain of invading glioblastoma (GBM) cells using a recently described model consisting of RT2 rat GBM cells stably transfected with enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) – called RT2-eGFP – and implanted in Fischer rats. Invasion throughout the brain was verified by confocal microscopy and immunocytochemical staining for eGFP. Rats were sacrificed on post-implantation days 3, 8, and time of death (TOD). First, the entire rat brain was disaggregated at each time point and viable RT2-eGFP cells were counted using flow cytometry with fluorescence as the marker. Next, 2 mm3 samples of cortex from each of four brain quadrants (bifrontal and bioccipital) were disaggregated at each time point, with tumor cell quantification as before. Tumor cell density, averaged over the entire brain, reached a peak mid-way through its time course, leveling out by TOD. Tumor cell density within bulk tumor (BT) was greatest early in the evolution of the brain tumor, decreasing to its final value mid-way through its time course, due to necrosis. The greatest concentration of tumor cells was within BT, with up to an order of magnitude fewer cells in the periphery, while the number of brain tumor cells invading brain distant from BT remained constant from day 3 until TOD. BT size steadily increased after implantation, with an increasing portion due to central necrosis as time progressed, suggesting that this effect is an important contributor to fatality in this model. Alternatively (or additionally), accumulation of toxins elaborated by tumor cells throughout the brain starting early in the evolution of the tumor may also contribute to fatality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-107
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2003


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