A GFP-labeled Human Colon Cancer Metastasis Model Featuring Surgical Orthotopic Implantation

  • Chen, Hong-Jin (Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine) ;
  • Yang, Bo-Lin (Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital) ;
  • Chen, Yu-Gen (Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital) ;
  • Lin, Qiu (Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine) ;
  • Zhang, Shu-Peng (Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital) ;
  • Gu, Yun-Fei (Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine)
  • Published : 2012.09.30


Colorectal cancer has become a major disease threatening human health. To establish animal models that exhibit the characteristics of human colorectal cancer will not only help to study the mechanisms underlying the genesis and development effectively, but also provide ideal carriers for the screening of medicines and examining their therapeutic effects. In this study, we established a stable, colon cancer nude mouse model highly expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) for spontaneous metastasis after surgical orthotopic implantation (SOI). GFP-labeled colon cancer models for metastasis after SOI were successfully established in all of 15 nude mice and there were no surgery-related complications or deaths. In week 3, primary tumors expressing GFP were observed in all model animals under fluoroscopy and two metastatic tumors were monitored by fluorescent imaging at the same time. The tumor volumes progressively increased with time. Seven out of 15 tumor transplanted mice died and the major causes of death were intestinal obstruction and cachexia resulting from malignant tumor growth. Eight model animals survived at the end of the experiment, 6 of which had metastases (6 cases to mesenteric lymph nodes, 4 hepatic, 2 pancreatic and 1 mediastinal lymph node). Our results indicate that our GFP-labeled colon cancer orthotopic transplantation model is useful with a high success rate; the transplanted tumors exhibit similar biological properties to human colorectal cancer, and can be used for real-time, in vivo, non-invasive and dynamic observation and analysis of the growth and metastasis of tumor cells.


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