Sonographic depiction of changes of tumor vascularity in response to various therapies

Kenneth J. Niermann, Arthur C. Fleischer, Edwin F. Donnelly, Aaron J. Schueneman, Ling Geng, Dennis E. Hallahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of power Doppler sonography for the depiction of changes in tumor vascularity with various therapeutic regimens. Materials and Methods: Tumor cells were implanted subcutaneously in thirty-two mice and assigned to four treatment groups: control, radiation therapy, antiangiogenesis therapy (VEGF [vascular endothelial growth factor] receptor antagonist, SU11248), or combined antiangiogenesis and radiation therapy. Twenty of these mice were scanned with power Doppler sonography at two time points over the course of treatment, and power-weighted pixel densities were assessed. The other twelve mice each underwent subcutaneous placement of a dorsal skin-fold window over the tumor site, allowing for daily angiogenesis assessment of vascular length density. All tumor specimens had correlative histologic analyses performed, including immunohistochemical stains for microvasculature. Results: Sonographic measurements revealed significant longitudinal differences in tumor vascularity among the four treatment groups: control mice receiving no treatment demonstrated a doubling in intra-tumor color pixel density (P < 0.02); those receiving radiation alone increased by 68% (P < 0.04); those receiving oral therapy alone increased by 44% (P = 0.016); and those receiving combination therapy decreased by 38% (P < 0.02). Tumor vascularity independently measured in the twelve mice with the skin-fold windows revealed a similar response to each type of treatment. Post-mortem tumor histology was consistent with both sonographic and skin-fold window measurements. Conclusion: Power Doppler sonography was accurate and reliable in measuring tumor vascularity changes in this model. These results were independently confirmed by a quantitative method relying on direct visualization of the microvasculature. Because it is rapid and non-invasive, sonographic quantification is beneficial in assessing the anti-angiogenic effects of various treatment strategies for cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-67
Number of pages7
JournalUltrasound Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • Angiogenesis
  • Blood flow
  • Cancer
  • Power doppler


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