Breast cancer is the most common non-skin cancer among women. One in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime, and about 10-20% of those women (more than one out of every 10) will be diagnosed with a triple-negative sub-type (ER-, PR- and HER2-). There is intense interest in developing new drugs that can treat this kind of breast cancer. Unfortunately, there are only a few preclinical models that mimic this expression profile.
One of these models is the MDA-MB-231 human breast adenocarcinoma cell line; which was derived from a metastatic site in a 51 year old Caucasian woman. This model has proven to be very valuable to the cancer research community. Clones of the parental line (MDA-MB-231) have been generated and optimized to reliably and spontaneously metastasize to the lungs and lymph nodes when implanted orthotopically. The orthotopic implant allows the natural and more clinically relevant process of metastasis to occur.
The spontaneously metastasizing clonal line, MDA-MB-231-luc-D3H2LN has also been transfected with luciferase; which allows researchers to locate and monitor distal metastatic disease. This model enables our client with the ability to evaluate the impact that their test material has on the primary orthotopic tumor, as well as, the metastatic process using optical imaging with bioluminescence (BLI). We have validated MDA-MB-231-luc-D3H2LN as a spontaneous metastatic model when implanted in the mammary fat pad.
The graphs (Figures 1 and 2) below show the primary tumor growth (traditional caliper measurements) and the progression of metastatic disease to the lymph nodes (BLI signal measured in photons/sec). The BLI images (Figure 3) show the progression of metastasis to the lymph nodes when the primary orthotopic tumor is shielded.