Ultrasound imaging of splenomegaly as a proxy to monitor colon tumor development in Apcmin716/+ mice

Andrea Hodgson, Eric M. Wier, Kai Fu, Xin Sun, Fengyi Wan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Animal models of colon cancer are widely used to understand the molecular mechanisms and pathogenesis of the disease. These animal models require a substantial investment of time and traditionally necessitate the killing of the animal to measure the tumor progression. Several in vivo imaging techniques are being used in both human clinics and preclinical studies, albeit at high cost and requiring particular expertise. Here, we report that the progression of splenomegaly coincides with and positively correlates to colon tumor development in Apcmin716/+ mice expressing a mutant gene encoding an adenomatous polyposis coli protein truncated at amino acid 716. Ultrasound image-based spleen size measurement precisely mirrors splenomegaly development in vivo in the tumor-laden Apcmin716/+ mice. Moreover, the spleen dimensions extracted from the ultrasound sonograms are positively correlated with normalized spleen weight and the number and area of colon tumors. Hence, we propose measuring the spleen size in vivo by ultrasound imaging as a novel approach to estimate splenomegaly development and to indirectly monitor colon tumor development in Apcmin716/+ mice. The widespread use of ultrasound machines in the laboratory setting, coupled with the fact that it is a noninvasive method, make it a straightforward and useful tool for monitoring the experimental progress of colon cancer in mice and determining end points without killing animals strictly for diagnostics purposes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2469-2476
Number of pages8
JournalCancer medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Colon tumor
  • in vivo imaging
  • splenomegaly
  • ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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