Ultrasound-Guided Orthotopic Implantation of Murine Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma

This article has been accepted and is currently in production


The recent success of immune checkpoint blockade in melanoma and lung adenocarcinoma has galvanized the field of immuno-oncology as well as revealed the limitations of current treatments, as most patients do not respond to immunotherapy. Development of accurate preclinical models to quickly identify novel and effective therapeutic combinations are critical to address this unmet clinical need. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is a recognized example of an immune checkpoint blockade-resistant tumor, with only 2% of patients responding to immunotherapy. The genetically engineered KrasG12D+/-;Trp53R172H+/-;Pdx-1 Cre (KPC) mouse model of PDA recapitulates human disease and is a valuable tool for assessing therapies for immunotherapy-resistant cancer in the preclinical setting, but time-to-tumor onset is highly variable. Surgical orthotopic tumor implantation models of PDA maintain the immunobiological hallmarks of the KPC tissue-specific tumor microenvironment (TME) but require a time-intensive procedure and introduce aberrant inflammation. This study uses an ultrasound-guided orthotopic tumor implantation model (UG-OTIM) to noninvasively inject KPC-derived PDA cell lines directly into the mouse pancreas. UG-OTIM tumors grow in the endogenous tissue site, faithfully recapitulate histological features of the PDA TME, and reach enrollment-sized tumors for preclinical studies by 4 weeks after injection with minimal seeding on the peritoneal wall. The UG-OTIM system described here is a rapid and reproducible tumor model that may allow for high throughput analysis of novel therapeutic combinations in the murine PDA TME.