Organ-specific colonization of metastatic tumor cells is regulated through complex interactions of specific adhesion molecules on the tumor cell surface with organ specific microvascular endothelium. The present paper shows the real time tumor cell trafficking under the actual blood flow, which became able to be determined using a new technology, positron emission tomography. This technology would be useful to evaluate the interaction of characteristic tumor cells with various organs in vivo. High and low metastatic rat mammary adenocarcinoma cell variants, MTLn3 and MTC, respectively, were labeled with [2-18F]2-fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose in vitro. The labeled cells preferentially accumulated in the lungs, in which the disposition was more intense for MTLn3 than for MTC cells especially for the first 2–10 min after injection, apparently reflecting the organ specific interaction of metastatic tumor cells which may lead to metastasis. Such a short time change of cell disposition is easily determined in a living animal by this new technique. Furthermore, sialidase treatment of MTLn3 cells suppressed the accumulation of these cells in lungs, suggesting that some sialyl glycoconjugates on the MTLn3 cell surface play an important role in cell adhesion to lung endothelium. Positron emission tomography scanning thus enables the noninvasive study of the interaction of characteristic tumor cells with specific endothelium in a living animal.

This content is only available via PDF.