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Clin Exp Metastasis. 2008;25(7):811-7. doi: 10.1007/s10585-008-9195-x. Epub 2008 Jul 23.

Development of a new orthotopic animal model of metastatic liver cancer in the rabbit VX2 model: effect on metastases after partial hepatectomy, intra-arterial treatment with 3-bromopyruvate and chemoembolization.

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Division of Vascular and Interventional Radiology, Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, Johns Hopkins Hospital, 600 North Wolfe Street, Blalock 545, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.



The aim of our study was to compare the influence of partial hepatectomy, intra-arterial treatment with 3-BrPA and TACE on regional and distant metastases. In order to achieve our objective, we tested the feasibility of both resection, intra-arterial therapy with 3-BrPA and TACE of VX2 liver cancer in New Zealand White rabbits.


VX2 tumors were implanted in the left lateral lobe of the liver of 20 rabbits. Tumors were allowed to grow for 14 days. Rabbits were divided in four groups. Group 1 (n=2) was sacrificed 14 days post implantation. Group 2, 3 and 4 (n=6) underwent left lateral hepatectomy, a 1 h intra-arterial infusion with 3-BrPA and TACE respectively. Animals in each group were further subdivided into three groups of two animals each corresponding to the time-point of sacrifice after the procedure (7, 14 and 21 days respectively). After sacrifice, organs were harvested, fixed and analyzed.


Pathologic examination showed lung metastases in all 20 rabbits. Abdominal cavity dissemination was seen in five rabbits in Group 2, two rabbits in Group 3 and all rabbits in Group 4. Kidney metastases were seen in two rabbits treated with TACE.


The VX2 rabbit model of liver cancer is a suitable model to compare the influence of partial hepatectomy, intra-arterial treatment with 3-BrPA and TACE on tumor recurrence in the form of regional and distant metastases. Our results indicate that intra-arterial delivery of 3-BrPA may result in a favorable metastatic profile when compared to both liver resection and TACE.

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