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Radiology. 2015 Jan;274(1):192-200. doi: 10.1148/radiol.14132172. Epub 2014 Sep 15.

Antigen-loaded dendritic cell migration: MR imaging in a pancreatic carcinoma model.

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From the Department of Radiology (Z.Z., W.L., D.P., K.L., A.Y.S., A.C.G., Y.G., A.C.L.), Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center (Z.Z., K.K., A.C.L.), and Department of Biomedical Engineering (A.C.L.), Northwestern University, 737 N Michigan Ave, 16th Floor, Chicago, IL 60611; Department of Radiology, Xijing Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, China (Z.Z., Y.H., A.C.L.); and Department of Digestive Diseases, Xijing Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, China (G.H.).



To test the following hypotheses in a murine model of pancreatic cancer: (a) Vaccination with antigen-loaded iron-labeled dendritic cells reduces T2-weighted signal intensity at magnetic resonance (MR) imaging within peripheral draining lymph nodes ( LN lymph node s) and (b) such signal intensity reductions are associated with tumor size changes after dendritic cell vaccination.


The institutional animal care and use committee approved this study. Panc02 cells were implanted into the flanks of 27 C57BL/6 mice bilaterally. After tumors reached 10 mm, cell viability was evaluated, and iron-labeled dendritic cell vaccines were injected into the left hind footpad. The mice were randomly separated into the following three groups (n = 9 in each): Group 1 was injected with 1 million iron-labeled dendritic cells; group 2, with 2 million cells; and control mice, with 200 mL of phosphate-buffered saline. T1- and T2-weighted MR imaging of labeled dendritic cell migration to draining LN lymph node s was performed before cell injection and 6 and 24 hours after injection. The signal-to-noise ratio ( SNR signal-to-noise ratio ) of the draining LN lymph node s was measured. One-way analysis of variance ( ANOVA analysis of variance ) was used to compare Prussian blue-positive dendritic cell measurements in LN lymph node s. Repeated-measures ANOVA analysis of variance was used to compare in vivo T2-weighted SNR signal-to-noise ratio LN lymph node measurements between groups over the observation time points.


Trypan blue assays showed no significant difference in mean viability indexes (unlabeled vs labeled dendritic cells, 4.32% ± 0.69 [standard deviation] vs 4.83% ± 0.76; P = .385). Thirty-five days after injection, the mean left and right flank tumor sizes, respectively, were 112.7 mm(2) ± 16.4 and 109 mm(2) ± 24.3 for the 1-million dendritic cell group, 92.2 mm(2) ± 9.9 and 90.4 mm(2) ± 12.8 for the 2-million dendritic cell group, and 193.7 mm(2) ± 20.9 and 189.4 mm(2) ± 17.8 for the control group (P = .0001 for control group vs 1-million cell group; P = .00007 for control group vs 2-million cell group). There was a correlation between postinjection T2-weighted SNR signal-to-noise ratio decreases in the left popliteal LN lymph node 24 hours after injection and size changes at follow-up for tumors in both flanks (R = 0.81 and R = 0.76 for left and right tumors, respectively).


MR imaging approaches can be used for quantitative measurement of accumulated iron-labeled dendritic cell-based vaccines in draining LN lymph node s. The amount of dendritic cell-based vaccine in draining LN lymph node s correlates well with observed protective effects.

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