Comparison of two syngeneic orthotopic murine models of pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

J Invest Surg 2013 Dec 19;26(6):352-9. Epub 2013 Aug 19.

1 Department of Surgery, Austin Health, University of Melbourne, Austin Health, LTB8, Heidleberg, Victoria, Australia.

Background: Pancreatic adenocarcinoma has an extremely poor prognosis. The use of appropriate in vivo models is essential in devising methods to improve treatment outcomes.

Methods: A pancreatic adenocarcinoma model based on tumor injection into the pancreatic head was compared with a pancreatic tail injection model in C57/BL6 mice. The murine pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell line PAN02, dispersed in Matrigel™, was used for tumor induction.

Results: Tumors developed in all animals in both models. Tumor size was more consistent within the pancreatic tail group at 20 days following induction, with no evidence of metastatic disease. Animals in the pancreatic head injection group showed signs of reduced health by 20 days following injection and developed jaundice. Microscopic liver metastases were noted in some of these animals at this time point. The overall survival of animals at 40 days following tumor induction was significantly lower in the pancreatic head injection group (0% vs. 35%; p < .001). Multiple liver metastases were noted in five of 10 (50%) animals in the head injection group, without evidence of peritoneal metastases. In the pancreatic tail injection group, 18 of 20 (90%) animals had multiple peritoneal metastases, and nine of 20 (45%) animals had evidence of isolated liver deposits. Tumors in both regions of the pancreas had similar histologic characteristics, with a dense fibrotic stroma at the interface between the tumor and the normal pancreas.

Conclusion: Pancreatic head and tail orthotopic cancer models produce consistent tumors, but the patterns of tumor spread and survival differ according to the site of injection.

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