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Am J Pathol. 2001 Jun;158(6):1997-2003.

A precise and efficient stereological method for determining murine lung metastasis volumes.

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Finsen Laboratory, Rigshospitalet Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.


We have developed a computer-assisted stereological method based on unbiased principles for estimating metastasis volumes in mouse lungs. We evaluated this method using the transplantable Lewis lung carcinoma. Twenty-one days after subcutaneous inoculation of 10(6) Lewis lung cells into C57BL/6J mice, the mice had primary tumors with an average volume of 2300 mm(3). After perfusion fixation, the lungs were removed, embedded in OCT compound, snap-frozen, and processed for stereology. The metastasis volumes were estimated by application of the Cavalieri principle after evaluation of single sections from several evenly distributed tissue levels. The metastasis volume in a group of nine mice varied between 0.01 and 14.4 mm(3), with an average of 6.1 mm(3). The coefficient of variation was 0.9. The coefficient of error of the volume estimation was determined in five cases and varied from 0.08 to 0.23. Thus, the variation on the metastasis volumes that is achieved by this method contributes very little, 2.5%, to the total variance within the group of mice. In conclusion, we have developed an efficient and unbiased method to determine the metastasis burden in mouse lungs.

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