Characterisation of in vivo ovarian cancer models by quantitative 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy and diffusion-weighted imaging

Rossella Canese, Maria Elena Pisanu, Delia Mezzanzanica, Alessandro Ricci, Luisa Paris, Marina Bagnoli, Barbara Valeri, Massimo Spada, Massimo Venditti, Albino Cesolini, Andrea Rodomonte, Massimo Giannini, Silvana Canevari, Franca Podo, Egidio Iorio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy (MRS) offer powerful approaches for detecting physiological and metabolic alterations in malignancies and help investigate underlying molecular mechanisms. Research on epithelial ovarian carcinoma (EOC), the gynaecological malignancy with the highest death rate characterised by frequent relapse and onset of drug resistance, could benefit from application of these molecular imaging approaches. In this study, MRI/MRS were used to characterise solid tumour models obtained by subcutaneous (s.c.) or intraperitoneal (i.p.) implantation of human SKOV3.ip cells in severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice. In vivo MRI/MRS, ex vivo magic-angle-spinning (MAS), and in vitro 1H-NMR measurements were carried out at 4.7T, 9.4T, and 9.4/16.5T, respectively. MRI evaluation was performed by T1-, T2-, and diffusion-weighted (DW) multislice spin-echo imaging. The in vivo 1H spectra of all tumour models showed a prominent resonance of total choline-containing metabolites (tCho). Quantitative in vivo MRS of both i.p. and s.c. SKOV3.ip xenografts showed that the mean tCho content was in the 2.9-4.5mM range, with a mean PCho/tCho ratio of 0.99±0.01 [23 examinations, 14-34days post injection (dpi)], in good agreement with ex vivo and in vitro analyses. Myo-inositol ranged between 11.7 and 17.0mM, with a trend towards higher values in i.p. xenografts at 14-16 dpi. The average apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values of SKOV3.ip xenografts [1.64±0.11 (n=9, i.p.) and 1.58±0.03 x10 -3mm 2/s (n=7, s.c.)] were in agreement with values reported for tumours from patients with EOC, while the mean vascular signal fraction (VSF) was lower (≤ 4%), probably due to the more rapid growth of preclinical models. Both s.c. and i.p. xenografts are valuable preclinical models for monitoring biochemical and physiopathological changes associated with in vivo EOC tumour growth and response to therapy, which may serve as the basis for further clinical development of noninvasive MR approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)632-642
Number of pages11
JournalNMR in Biomedicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


  • ADC
  • HR-MAS
  • MRI
  • MRS
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Preclinical in vivo model
  • Tumour xenograft
  • Vascular fraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Spectroscopy
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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