High-Frequency Ultrasound-Guided Injection for the Generation of a Novel Orthotopic Mouse Model of Human Thyroid Carcinoma

Adelaide Greco, Sandra Albanese, Antonella Zannetti, Crescenzo D'Alterio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Thyroid carcinoma is the most common endocrine malignancy and has an increasing incidence. High-frequency ultrasound (HFUS) has a spatial resolution of 30 μm, which is a property that has been exploited for thyroid visualization and analysis in mice. The aim of this study was to generate a novel orthotopic mouse model of human follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC) using an HFUS-guided injection system. Methods: Twenty Balb/C nude mice were injected in the right lobe of the thyroid with 2 × 106 FTC-133 cells using the microinjection HFUS-guided system, and 20 mice, used as a control, underwent surgical orthotopic implantation of 2 × 106 FTC-133 cells in the right lobe of the thyroid. All mice underwent HFUS imaging two weeks after cell injection; HFUS examinations and tumor volume (TV) measurements were repeated weekly. Micro-computed tomography was performed at different time points to determine whether lung metastasis had occurred. TVs were compared between the two models (surgical vs. HFUS-guided) using the Mann-Whitney U-test, and the Mantel-Cox log-rank test was applied to evaluate the death hazard. Hematoxylin and eosin analysis of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded mouse tissue was performed to validate the in vivo imaging results. Results: Of the HFUS-guided injected mice, 9/18 survived up to 40 days after the injection of tumor cells. Mice injected surgically had 100% mortality at day 29. Of 38 mice, 29 (14/18 HFUS, 15/20 surgical) showed metastasis in the salivary glands and lymph nodes, and 13 (10/18 HFUS, 3/20 surgical) also showed metastasis in the lungs, which was confirmed by histological analysis. In the surgical group, there was an evident, frequent (12/20 mice) involvement of the contralateral lobe of the thyroid, whereas this feature was only detected in 1/18 mice in the HFUS group. Statistical analysis showed the same pattern of growth in the two groups, and a significant hazard in the mice in the surgical group (p = 0.03). Conclusions: This study demonstrated the technical feasibility of an HFUS-guided orthotopic mouse model of FTC. The HFUS-guided orthotopic model is easily reproducible and allows prolonged monitoring of the disease because the animals showed an increased survival rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-558
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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