Quantitative primary tumor indocyanine green measurements predict osteosarcoma metastatic lung burden in a mouse model

Mitchell S. Fourman, Adel Mahjoub, Jon B. Mandell, Shibing Yu, Jessica C. Tebbets, Jared A. Crasto, Peter E. Alexander, Kurt R. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Current preclinical osteosarcoma (OS) models largely focus on quantifying primary tumor burden. However, most fatalities from OS are caused by metastatic disease. The quantification of metastatic OS currently relies on CT, which is limited by motion artifact, requires intravenous contrast, and can be technically demanding in the preclinical setting. We describe the ability for indocyanine green (ICG) fluorescence angiography to quantify primary and metastatic OS in a previously validated orthotopic, immunocompetent mouse model. Questions/purposes: (1) Can near-infrared ICG fluorescence be used to attach a comparable, quantitative value to the primary OS tumor in our experimental mouse model? (2) Will primary tumor fluorescence differ in mice that go on to develop metastatic lung disease? (3) Does primary tumor fluorescence correlate with tumor volume measured with CT? Methods: Six groups of 4- to 6-week-old immunocompetent Balb/c mice (n = 6 per group) received paraphyseal injections into their left hindlimb proximal tibia consisting of variable numbers of K7M2 mouse OS cells. A hindlimb transfemoral amputation was performed 4 weeks after injection with euthanasia and lung extraction performed 10 weeks after injection. Histologic examination of lung and primary tumor specimens confirmed ICG localization only within the tumor bed. Results: Mice with visible or palpable tumor growth had greater hindlimb fluorescence (3.5 6 2.3 arbitrary perfusion units [APU], defined as the fluorescence pixel return normalized by the detector) compared with those with a negative examination (0.71 6 0.38 APU, -2.7 6 0.5 mean difference, 95% confidence interval -3.7 to -1.8, p < 0.001). A strong linear trend (r2 = 0.81, p < 0.01) was observed between primary tumor and lung fluorescence, suggesting that quantitative ICG tumor fluorescence is directly related to eventual metastatic burden. We did not find a correlation (r2 = 0.04, p = 0.45) between normalized primary tumor fluorescence and CT volumetric measurements. Conclusions: We demonstrate a novel methodology for quantifying primary and metastatic OS in a previously validated, immunocompetent, orthotopic mouse model. Quantitative fluorescence of the primary tumor with ICG angiography is linearly related to metastatic burden, a relationship that does not exist with respect to clinical tumor size. This highlights the potential utility of ICG near-infrared fluorescence imaging as a valuable preclinical proof-of-concept modality. Future experimental work will use this model to evaluate the efficacy of novel OS small molecule inhibitors. Clinical Relevance :Given the histologic localization of ICG to only the tumor bed, we envision the clinical use of ICG angiography as an intraoperative margin and tumor detector. Such a tool may be used as an alternative to intraoperative histology to confirm negative primary tumor margins or as a valuable tool for debulking surgeries in vulnerable anatomic locations. Because we have demonstrated the successful preservation of ICG in frozen tumor samples, future work will focus on blinded validation of this modality in observational human trials, comparing the ICG fluorescence of harvested tissue samples with fresh frozen pathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-487
Number of pages9
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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