Chen, X., Wang, J., Cao, Z., Hosaka, K., Jensen, L., Yang, H., Sun, Y., Zhuang, R., Liu, Y., Cao, Y. (2015) Invasiveness and metastasis of retinoblastoma in an orthotopic zebrafish tumor model. Scientific Reports. 5:10351.
Retinoblastoma is a highly invasive malignant tumor that often invades the brain and metastasizes to distal organs through the blood stream. Invasiveness and metastasis of retinoblastoma can occur at the early stage of tumor development. However, an optimal preclinical model to study retinoblastoma invasiveness and metastasis in relation to drug treatment has not been developed. Here, we developed an orthotopic zebrafish model in which retinoblastoma invasion and metastasis can be monitored at a single cell level. We took the advantages of immune privilege and transparent nature of developing zebrafish embryos. Intravitreal implantation of color-coded retinoblastoma cells allowed us to kinetically monitor tumor cell invasion and metastasis. Further, interactions between retinoblastoma cells and surrounding microvasculatures were studied using a transgenic zebrafish that exhibited green fluorescent signals in blood vessels. We discovered that tumor cells invaded neighboring tissues and blood stream when primary tumors were at the microscopic sizes. These findings demonstrate that retinoblastoma metastasis occurs at the early stage and antiangiogenic drugs such as Vegf morpholino and sunitinib could potentially interfere with tumor invasiveness and metastasis. Thus, this orthotopic retinoblastoma model offers a new and unique opportunity to study the early events of tumor invasion, metastasis and drug responses.