Characterization of an animal model of metastatic colon carcinoma

Damien J. Dunnington, Charles Buscarino, Doris Gennaro, Russell Greig, George Poste

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Scopus citations


Although numerous animal tumor models have been used to study colon carcinoma, few display metastatic properties. We have characterized an animal tumor model that has 3 properties essential for the study of metastasis of colon carcinoma cells: epithelial cell origin; a reproducible pattern of metastatic behavior and the ability to be propagated both in vitro and in vivo to facilitate identification of biochemical correlates of metastasis. The KI2/TR cell line was derived from a transplantable colon carcinoma induced by dimethylhydrazine in the BD‐IX rat strain. Transmission electron microscopy of KI2/TR cells demonstrated junctional complexes, desmosomes and surface microvilli characteristic of gastrointestinal epithelial cells. The epithelial cell origin of KI2/TR was confirmed by demonstrating the presence of keratin, a marker of epithelial cells, but not vimentin, a constituent of mesenchymal cells. Secretion of CEA and Ca19‐9 antigens by KI2/TR cells in vitro was below the sensitivity of the assays (1 ng/ml and 6 U/ml respectively). KI2/TR cells produced tumors following s.c. injection into syngeneic BD‐IX rats, allogeneic RNU/rnuDF rats and xenogeneic CRL:nu/nuBR mice. Macroscopic lung metastases were observed in animals from all 3 groups. Distal lymph node metastases were more frequent in BD‐IX rats than in nude rats or mice. The histological appearances of all tumors and metastases were similar, showing a moderate to poorly differentiated glandular carcinoma. Intrasplenic injections of KI2/TR cells in nude mice resulted in liver colonization. Preferential growth of tumor cells at sites of trauma was also observed. The results show that the KI2/TR system can be used as a model to study metastasis of colon carcinoma cells and may find utility in the testing of chemotherapeutic agents against metastatic lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-254
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 15 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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