Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the imaging modality of choice by which to monitor patient gliomas and treatment effects, and has been applied to murine models of glioma. However, a major obstacle to the development of effective glioma therapeutics has been that widely used animal models of glioma have not accurately recapitulated the morphological heterogeneity and invasive nature of this very lethal human cancer. This deficiency is being alleviated somewhat as more representative models are being developed, but there is still a clear need for relevant yet practical models that are well-characterized in terms of their MRI features. Hence we sought to chronicle the MRI profile of a recently developed, comparatively straightforward human tumor stem cell (hTSC) derived glioma model in mice using conventional MRI methods. This model reproduces the salient features of gliomas in humans, including florid neoangiogenesis and aggressive invasion of normal brain. Accordingly, the variable, invasive morphology of hTSC gliomas visualized on MRI duplicated that seen in patients, and it differed considerably from the widely used U87 glioma model that does not invade normal brain. After several weeks of tumor growth the hTSC model exhibited an MRI contrast enhancing phenotype having variable intensity and an irregular shape, which mimicked the heterogeneous appearance observed with human glioma patients. The MRI findings reported here support the use of the hTSC glioma xenograft model combined with MRI, as a test platform for assessing candidate therapeutics for glioma, and for developing novel MR methods
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