Optical imaging of progenitor cell homing to patient-derived tumors
University of California, San Diego, CA, 92103-8756, USA. .Contrast Media & Molecular Imaging (Impact Factor: 2.92). 11/2012; 7(6):525-36. DOI: 10.1002/cmmi.1485
Capitalizing on cellular homing to cancer is a promising strategy for targeting malignant cells for diagnostic, monitoring and therapeutic purposes. Murine C17.2 neural progenitor cells (NPC) demonstrate a tropism for cell line-derived tumors, but their affinity for patient-derived tumors is unknown. We tested the hypothesis that NPC accumulate in patient-derived tumors at levels detectable by optical imaging. Mice bearing solid tumors after transplantation with patient-derived leukemia cells and untransplanted controls received 10(6) fluorescent DiR-labeled NPC daily for 1-4 days, were imaged, then sacrificed. Tissues were analyzed by immunofluorescence and flow cytometry to detect tumor cell engraftment (CD45) and NPC (FITC-β galactosidase or DiR). Tumors consisted primarily of CD45-positive cells and demonstrated mild fluorescence, corresponding to frequent clusters of FITC-β gal-positive cells. Both transplanted and control mice demonstrated the highest fluorescent signal in the spleens and other tissues of the reticuloendothelial activating system. However, only rare FITC-β gal-positive cells were detected in the mildly engrafted transplanted spleens and none in the control spleens, suggesting that their high DiR signal reflects the sequestration of DiR-positive debris. The mildly engrafted transplanted kidneys demonstrated low fluorescent signal and rare FITC-β gal-positive cells whereas control kidneys were negative. Results indicate that NPC accumulate in tissues containing patient-derived tumor cells in a manner that is detectable by ex vivo optical imaging and proportional to the level of tumor engraftment, suggesting a capacity to home to micrometastatic disease. As such, NPC could have significant clinical applications for the targeted diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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