Bone metastasis causes significant morbidity in cancer patients, including bone pain, pathologic fractures, nerve compression syndrome, and hypercalcemia. Animal models are utilized to study the pathogenesis of skeletal metastases and to evaluate potential therapeutic agents. Previously published methods for imaging bone metastasis in rodent models have focused on identifying advanced stage metastasis using simple X-rays. Here we report MRI as a method for detecting early bone metastases in mouse models in vivo. B16 mouse melanoma cells were injected into the left cardiac ventricle of C57BL/6 mice and magnetic resonance (MR) images were obtained of the left leg following the development of metastatic disease, when tumor associated bone destruction was histologically present but not visible by X-ray. T1 and T2 relaxation times of bone marrow were measured in healthy control mice and B16 melanoma tumor-bearing mice. Mean T2 values for normal marrow were 28 ms (SD 5) and for diseased bone marrow were 41 ms (SD 3). T2 relaxation time of diseased bone marrow is significantly longer than that of normal bone marrow (P < 0.0001) and can be used as a marker of early bone metastases. These studies demonstrate that MR imaging can detect bone marrow metastases in small animals prior to development of cortical bone loss identified by X-ray.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-411
Number of pages9
JournalClinical and Experimental Metastasis
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • Animal models
  • Bone metastases
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Melanoma
  • Rodents


Dive into the research topics of 'MRI detection of early bone metastases in B16 mouse melanoma models'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this