Monitoring breast cancer growth and metastatic colony formation in mice using bioluminescence

Balakrishnan Solaimuthu*, Arata Hayashi, Anees Khatib, Yoav D. Shaul*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Breast cancer is a frequent heterogeneous malignancy and the second leading cause of mortality in women, mainly due to distant organ metastasis. Several animal models have been generated, including the widely used orthotopic mouse models, where cancer cells are injected into the mammary fat pad. However, these models cannot help monitor tumor growth kinetics and metastatic colonization. Cutting-edge tools to monitor cancer cells in real time in mice will significantly advance the understanding of tumor biology. Here, breast cancer cell lines stably expressing luciferase and green fluorescent protein (GFP) were established. Specifically, this technique contains two sequential steps initiated by measuring the luciferase activity in vitro and followed by the implantation of the cancer cells into mammary fat pads of nonobese diabetic-severe combined immunodeficiency (NOD-SCID) mice. After the injection, both the tumor growth and metastatic colonization are monitored in real time by the noninvasive bioluminescence imaging system. Then, the quantification of GFP-expressing metastases in the lungs will be examined by fluorescence microscopy to validate the observed bioluminescence results. This sophisticated system combining luciferase and fluorescence-based detection tools evaluates cancer metastasis in vivo, which has great potential for use in breast cancer therapeutics and disease management.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere63060
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number177
StatePublished - 5 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 JoVE.


Dive into the research topics of 'Monitoring breast cancer growth and metastatic colony formation in mice using bioluminescence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this