Biological characterization and non invasive PET imaging explorations of lymphatic dissemination in a human melanoma xenograft model

Authors: Olivier DUCHAMP, Raphaël BOISGARD, Bertrand TAVITIAN, Philippe GENNE and Nicolas GUILBAUD

The major cause of death from melanoma is related to metastases development, these secondary tumours being resistant to conventional therapies. Determining the metastatic spread of melanoma cells to the regional lymph nodes is essential in the assessment of prognosis and treatment options. Several human melanoma cell lines have been reported to metastasize in the immune-deficient mice, but lymph nodes metastatic rates were extremely low. To evaluate the potential of therapies against metastatic melanoma, we developed a novel human xenograft model in immunodeficient rodents (mice and rats) involving metastasis formation in multiple organs.
Positron emission tomography (PET) is a diagnostic imaging modality that allows the characterisation of disease based on altered metabolism. 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) is the most frequently used PET radiotracer. The sensitivity of the microPET® scanner led to the suggestion that FDG-PET might be used i) for initial non-invasive spreading assessment and, ii) for pharmacological treatment investigation in our experimental melanoma model.

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