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Ultrasound Med Biol. 2002 Apr;28(4):431-7.

In vivo quantitation of tumour vascularisation assessed by Doppler sonography in rat mammary tumours.

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Laboratoire Nutrition, Croissance et Cancer, UPRES-EA 2103, Université François-Rabelais, 37044 Tours, France.


This study was designed to evaluate high-frequency power Doppler (PDS) and to quantify treatment-induced changes in an experimental autochthonous mammary tumour model in rats. A total of 13 rats with N-methyl, N-nitroso urea-induced mammary tumours were split into three courses; 6 rats were treated with epirubicin, 3 received a placebo injection and 4 had irradiation of their tumour with a direct electron beam using a single dose of 18 Gy. In all groups, treatment began when the tumour area reached at least 1 cm(2) and was preceded by the first power Doppler sonography study of the tumour (Echo #1). Echo #2 was carried out in the middle of the placebo or epirubicin treatment (after 3 weeks) or 7 days after irradiation in the irradiated group. Echo #3 was carried out at the end of placebo or epirubicin treatment or 28 days after irradiation. Then colour pixel density (CPD) and vascularity index (VI) were quantitated. Intraobserver and interobserver variability of the CPD and VI quantitation was low (r = 0.99 and 0.97, respectively, for intraobserver and interobserver variability of the CPD values). The monitoring of CPD and VI showed an increase with time during the observation period. No increase in CPD or VI was observed in treated mammary tumours (p < 0.01). Power Doppler sonography quantitation of angiogenesis is reproducible, noninvasive and feasible in this in vivo breast cancer model. The monitoring of angiogenesis according to different treatments is feasible in real-time. Further studies are needed to investigate the predictive value of CPD and VI on sensitivity of mammary tumours to anticancer treatment.

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