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Anticancer Res. 2014 Mar;34(3):1171-7.

Morphometric and fractal dimension analysis identifies early neoplastic changes in mammary epithelium of MMTV-cNeu mice.

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  • 1University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy 6439 Garners Ferry Road, Bldg. 1, Room B22, Columbia, SC 29208, U.S.A.


Fractal dimension has emerged as a clinically useful tool in the diagnosis and management of breast cancer. The aim of the present study was to determine if fractal dimension can be applied for the analysis of a pre-clinical breast cancer mouse model, MMTV-cNeu. Using fractal dimension in conjunction with conventional morphometric measurements, the ductal epithelial networks of pubertal-stage MMTV-cNeu mice were quantitatively compared with those of wild-type mice. Significant alterations in ductal epithelial network growth and organization were detected during early neoplasia in MMTV-cNeu mice. Moreover, the left-side networks were significantly more affected relative to their wild-type counterparts than were the right-side networks, a finding that is consistent with elevated left-side tumor incidence reported for breast cancer patients. Taken together these results demonstrate that combined fractal dimension and morphometric analysis is an objective and sensitive approach to quantitatively identify ductal epithelial aberrancies that precede overt mammary carcinoma formation.


MMTV-cNeu; Mammary gland; fractal dimension; left-right asymmetry; neoplasia

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