An in vivo model of prostate carcinoma growth and invasion in bone

Jane L. Fisher, Jacqueline F. Schmitt, Monique L. Howard, Scott P. Mackie, Peter F. Peter, Gail P. Risbridger

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Prostatic carcinoma affects 1 in 11 men and targets bone with sclerotic metastases. The study of prostate carcinoma growth in bone has been hampered by the lack of suitable animal models. We have developed an in vivo model of prostate carcinoma growth in bone by inoculating three human prostate carcinoma cell lines (PC-3, DU-145, and LNCaP) into the tibia of congenitally athymic mice. Developing tumors were analyzed by radiographic, histologic, immunohistochemical, and in situ hybridization examination. Seven of the nine PC-3 inoculated mice and all (9/9) of the DU-145 inoculated mice developed tumors in the injected limb. In contrast, inoculation with LNCaP cells failed to produce tumors (0/9). Radiologically, the tumors had a mixed sclerotic/lytic appearance with extracortical extension. All the PC-3 tumors invaded the bone marrow cavity, cortical bone, and surrounding soft tissue. The DU-145 tumors were confined to the bone marrow cavity in 7/9 animals. CK18 and Ki67 localization identified the human tumor cells and their proliferative activity, respectively. The PC-3-and DU-145-induced tibial tumors expressed α(1)I pro-collagen and osteopontin mRNA, to varying degrees. All the tumors demonstrated an up-regulation of osteoclasts at the bone/tumor interface compared with the control limbs. Thus, this is a reliable and reproducible in vivo model of prostate carcinoma growth in bone enabling the study of the interactions that occur between prostate cancer cells and bone at an important part of the metastatic cascade, namely, growth and invasion at a distant site.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-345
Number of pages9
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Animal model
  • Bone
  • Cancer
  • Mouse (BALB/c, nu/nu)
  • Prostate

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