Temporal characterization of lymphatic metastasis in an orthotopic mouse model of oral cancer

Peter Szaniszlo, Susan M. Fennewald, Suimin Qiu, Carla Kantara, Tuya Shilagard, Gracie Vargas, Vicente A. Resto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background The overall mortality rate in cases of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) has not improved over the past 30 years, mostly because of the high treatment failure rate among patients with regionally metastatic disease. To better understand the pathobiologic processes leading to lymphatic metastasis development, there is an urgent need for relevant animal models. Methods HNSCC cell lines were implanted into the tongues of athymic nude mice. Histology, immunohistochemistry, and ex vivo 2-photon microscopy were used to evaluate tumor progress and spread. Results Orthotopic xenografts of different HNSCC cell lines produced distinct patterns of survival, tumor histology, disease progression rate, and lymph node metastasis development. Remarkably, all injected cell types reached the lymph nodes within 24 hours after injection, but not all developed metastasis. Conclusion This orthotopic xenograft model closely mimics several characteristics of human cancer and could be extremely valuable for translational studies focusing on lymphatic metastasis development and pathobiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1638-1647
Number of pages10
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
  • lymph node metastasis
  • oral cancer
  • orthotopic xenograft mouse model
  • physiologic characterization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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