Noninvasive intravital high-resolution imaging of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours

Mirela Balan, Marta Trusohamn, Frank Chenfei Ning, Stefan Jacob, Kristian Pietras, Ulf Eriksson, Per Olof Berggren, Daniel Nyqvist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Preclinical trials of cancer drugs in animal models are important for drug development. The Rip1Tag2 (RT2) transgenic mouse, a model of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (PNET), has provided immense knowledge about PNET biology, although tumour progression occurs in a location inaccessible for real-time monitoring. To overcome this hurdle we have developed a novel platform for intravital 3D imaging of RT2 tumours to facilitate real-time studies of cancer progression. Pre-oncogenic islets retrieved from RT2 mice were implanted into the anterior chamber of the eye (ACE) of host mice, where they engrafted on the iris, recruited blood vessels and showed continuous growth. Noninvasive confocal and two-photon laser-scanning microscopy through the transparent cornea facilitated high-resolution imaging of tumour growth and angiogenesis. RT2 tumours in the ACE expanded up to 8-fold in size and shared hallmarks with tumours developing in situ in the pancreas. Genetically encoded fluorescent reporters enabled high-resolution imaging of stromal cells and tumour cell migration. Sunitinib treatment impaired RT2 tumour angiogenesis and growth, while overexpression of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-B increased tumour angiogenesis though tumour growth was impaired. In conclusion, we present a novel platform for intravital high-resolution and 3D imaging of PNET biology and cancer drug assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14636
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Biomedical Laboratory Science/Technology


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