Utility of a prototype liposomal contrast agent for x-ray imaging of breast cancer: A proof of concept using micro-CT in small animals

Journal Article

Imaging tumor angiogenesis in small animals is extremely challenging due to the size of the tumor vessels. Consequently, both dedicated small animal imaging systems and specialized intravascular contrast agents are required. The goal of this study was to investigate the use of a liposomal contrast agent for high-resolution micro-CT imaging of breast tumors in small animals. A liposomal blood pool agent encapsulating iodine with a concentration of 65.5 mg/ml was used with a Duke Center for In Vivo Microscopy (CIVM) prototype micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) system to image the R3230AC mammary carcinoma implanted in rats. The animals were injected with equivalent volume doses (0.02 ml/kg) of contrast agent. Micro-CT with the liposomal blood pool contrast agent ensured a signal difference between the blood and the muscle higher than 450 HU allowing the visualization of the tumors 3D vascular architecture in exquisite detail at 100-micron resolution. The micro-CT data correlated well with the histological examination of tumor tissue. We also studied the ability to detect vascular enhancement with limited angle based reconstruction, i.e. tomosynthesis. Tumor volumes and their regional vascular percentage were estimated. This imaging approach could be used to better understand tumor angiogenesis and be the basis for evaluating anti-angiogenic therapies.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Badea, CT; Samei, E; Ghaghada, K; Saunders, R; Yuan, H; Qi, Y; Hedlund, LW; Mukundan, S

Published Date

  • May 14, 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 6913 /

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1605-7422

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1117/12.772307

Citation Source

  • Scopus