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Neoplasia. 2008 Jul;10(7):706-13, 1 p following 713.

Dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging of tumor-induced lymph flow.

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.


The growth of metastatic tumors in mice can result in markedly increased lymph flow through tumor-draining lymph nodes (LNs), which is associated with LN lymphangiogenesis. A dynamic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) assay was developed, which uses low-molecular weight gadolinium contrast agent to label the lymphatic drainage, to visualize and quantify tumor-draining lymph flow in vivo in mice bearing metastatic melanomas. Tumor-bearing mice showed greatly increased lymph flow into and through draining LNs and into the bloodstream. Quantitative analysis established that both the amount and the rate of lymph flow through draining LNs are significantly increased in melanoma-bearing mice. In addition, the rate of appearance of contrast media in the bloodstream was significantly increased in mice bearing melanomas. These results indicate that gadolinium-based contrast-enhanced MRI provides a noninvasive assay for high-resolution spatial identification and mapping of lymphatic drainage and for dynamic measurement of changes in lymph flow associated with cancer or lymphatic dysfunction in mice. Low-molecular weight gadolinium contrast is already used for 1.5-T MRI scanning in humans, which should facilitate translation of this imaging assay.

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