Despite recent advances in surgical technology, resection is not an option for many brainstem tumors. Experimental models have played essential roles in examining new approaches to therapy. The objective of the present study was to generate models by determining coordinates for safe inoculation into the brainstem of mice and rats, and to establish whether the implantation of heterotopic cells would create reproducible survival curves. Morbidity and survival studies were used to map stereotactic coordinates allowing successful inoculation of tumor cells. Survival studies were used to investigate the time course of tumor growth. Tumor location was examined by light microscopy and magnetic resonance imaging. Mice survived injections of 2 microL of saline at interaural, lateral, and depth coordinates of -2.5, 1.0, and 3.5 mm and -1.5, 1.0, and 3.5 mm. Rats survived injections at interaural, lateral, and depth coordinates of -2.0, 2.0, and 7.0 mm and -3.0, 0, and 7.0 mm. Median survival of mice challenged with 5 x 10(5) EMT6 and 10(4) B16 tumor cells was 11 and 10 days, respectively. Median survival for rats challenged with 10(4) 9L and F98 cells was 14 and 13 days, respectively. The present study demonstrates a feasible approach to preparing models of brainstem tumors. Limitations of these models are discussed.
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