Bioluminescent orthotopic model of pancreatic cancer progression

Ming Gene Chai, Corina Kim-Fuchs, Eliane Angst, Erica Kate Sloan

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Pancreatic cancer has an extremely poor five-year survival rate of 4-6%. New therapeutic options are critically needed and depend on improved understanding of pancreatic cancer biology. To better understand the interaction of cancer cells with the pancreatic microenvironment, we demonstrate an orthotopic model of pancreatic cancer that permits non-invasive monitoring of cancer progression. Luciferase-tagged pancreatic cancer cells are resuspended in Matrigel and delivered into the pancreatic tail during laparotomy. Matrigel solidifies at body temperature to prevent leakage of cancer cells during injection. Primary tumor growth and metastasis to distant organs are monitored following injection of the luciferase substrate luciferin, using in vivo imaging of bioluminescence emission from the cancer cells. In vivo imaging also may be used to track primary tumor recurrence after resection. This orthotopic model is suited to both syngeneic and xenograft models and may be used in pre-clinical trials to investigate the impact of novel anti-cancer therapeutics on the growth of the primary pancreatic tumor and metastasis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere50395
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number76
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013


  • Animal model
  • Bioluminescence
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Cancer
  • Cancer biology
  • Cell culture
  • Cellular biology
  • Genetics
  • Imaging
  • In vivo imaging
  • Issue 76
  • Laparotomy
  • Matrigel
  • Medicine
  • Metastasis
  • Molecular biology
  • Neoplasms
  • Orthotopic model
  • Pancreas
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Surgery
  • Tumor

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