Contrast-assisted destruction-replenishment ultrasound for the assessment of tumor microvasculature in a rat model

Rachel E. Pollard, Amy R. Sadlowski, Susannah H. Bloch, Lesley Murray, Erik R. Wisner, Stephen Griffey, Katherine W Ferrara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Angiogenesis, the development of new blood vessels, is necessary for tumor growth. Anti-angiogenic therapies have recently received attention as a possible cancer treatment. The purpose of this study was to monitor the vascularity of induced tumors in rats using contrast-enhanced ultrasound during anti-angiogenic therapy. Six rats with subcutaneously implanted R3230 murine mammary adenocarcinomas were treated with an orally administered anti-angiogenic agent (SU11657) beginning 28 days after tumor implantation (20 mg/kg BW once daily). Three additional tumor-bearing control rats were treated with an equivalent volume of vehicle alone. Sonographic evaluation of tumor blood flow was performed using a modified Siemens Sonoline Elegra equipped with a 5.0 MHz linear transducer prior to drug administration, during the first 51 hours following initial drug administration, and on days 8 and 15 after initiation of therapy. Tumor volumes were estimated at each time point using a prolate ellipsoid method from linear dimensions measured on the B-mode ultrasound image in the three major axes. A destruction-replenishment technique was used for tumor blood flow evaluation using a constant rate infusion of intravenously delivered ultrasound contrast media (Definity). A destructive pulse was fired first, followed by a chain of non- destructive pulses that allowed for visualization of vascular contrast agent replenishment. Parametric maps of the time required for contrast agent replenishment and the time-integrated intensity were generated for both the tumor and kidney. Following ultrasound examination, contrast-enhanced computed tomography of each tumor was performed in the same imaging plane as that used to acquire the ultrasound images. Fifteen days after the start of treatment, tumors were excised, preserved in 10% formalin, and sectioned in a plane approximating the ultrasound and CT imaging planes. Sections were prepared for light microscopy with H&E, CD31 and factor VIII immunostain to evaluate overall morphology and vessel distribution. Ultrasound measurements of tumor volume, the spatial extent of contrast enhancement, and the time required for contrast replenishment within control tumors were significantly different from those of treated tumors. The time-integrated ultrasound contrast enhancement decreases and the time required for replenishment of the contrast agent within the tumor volume increases over the course of anti-angiogenic therapy. Parametric maps of integrated intensity are shown to correlate with the regions of viable tumor demonstrated on H&E and regions of elevated contrast intensity on CT. Contrast-enhanced ultrasound imaging of implanted tumors provides a tool to assess differences in the microcirculation of treated and control tumors in studies of anti-angiogenic agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-470
Number of pages12
JournalTechnology in Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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