Szade K., Zukowska M., Szade A., Collet G., Kloska D., Kieda C., Jozkowicz A. and Dulak J.
Tumor Biology (2016) 37 (2) 2481-2496 - doi : 10.1007/s13277-015-4065-z
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Subcutaneous injection of the tumor cell suspension is a simple and commonly used tool for studying tumor development in vivo. However, subcutaneous models poorly resemble tumor complexity due to the fast growth not reflecting the natural course. Here, we describe an application of the new spheroid-plug model to combine the simplicity of subcutaneous injection with improved resemblance to natural tumor progression. Spheroid-plug model relies on in vitro formation of tumor spheroids, followed by injection of single tumor spheroid subcutaneously in Matrigel matrix. In spheroid-plug model, tumors grow slower in comparison to tumors formed by injection of cell suspension as assessed by 3D ultrasonography (USG) and in vivo bioluminescence measurements. The slower tumor growth rate in spheroid-plug model is accompanied by reduced necrosis. The spheroid-plug model ensures increased and more stable vascularization of tumor than classical subcutaneous tumor model as demonstrated by 3D USG Power Doppler examination. Flow cytometry analysis showed that tumors formed from spheroids have enhanced infiltration of endothelial cells as well as hematopoietic and progenitor cells with stem cell phenotype (c-Kit+ and Sca-1+). They also contain more tumor cells expressing cancer stem cell marker CXCR4. Here, we show that spheroid-plug model allows investigating efficiency of anticancer drugs. Treatment of spheroid-plug tumors with known antiangiogenic agent axitinib decreased their size and viability. The antiangiogenic activity of axitinib was higher in spheroid-plug model than in classical model. Our results indicate that spheroid-plug model imitates natural tumor growth and can become a valuable tool for cancer research.