Dynamic determination of human glioma invasion in vitro

Svein J.T. Nygaard*, Hans K.R. Haugland, Ole Didrik Laerum, Morten Lund-Johansen, Rolf Bjerkvig, Ole Björn Tysnes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Object. The goal of this study was to evaluate whether there is any relationship between survival of patients with brain tumor and tumor proliferation or tumor invasion in vitro. Methods. Samples of freshly resected brain tumors from 14 patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) were directly grown as three-dimensional multicellular spheroids. The tumor spheroids were cocultured with fetal rat brain cell aggregates (BCAs), used to represent an organotypical normal brain tissue model. Before the coculture, the tumor spheroids and the BCAs were stained with two different carbocyanine dyes, 1,1'-dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetramethylindocarbocyanine perchlorate (DiI) and 3,3'-dioctadecycloxacarbocyanine perchlorate (DiO), respectively. During the coculture, confocal laser scanning microscopy allowed a sequential analysis of tumor cell invasion by visualizing dynamic aspects of the invasive process. Single cocultures were examined at three different time points (24, 48, and 96 hours). During the observation period there was a change in the structural morphology of the cocultures, with a progressive decrease in BCA volume. Furthermore, the scanning confocal micrographs revealed a bidirectional movement of tumor cells and normal cells into brain and tumor tissue, respectively. It is also shown that there is a considerable variation in the rate of BCA destruction in cocultures of glioma spheroids generated directly from biopsy specimens. This variation is seen both between spheroids generated from the same biopsy as well as between spheroids that are grown from different biopsy specimens. Cell proliferation measured by Ki-67 immunohistochemical analysis of biopsy samples obtained in the same patients revealed a correlation between tumor cell proliferation and tissue destruction of the BCAs, as determined by a reduction in BCA volume (p = 0.0338). No correlation was found when survival was related to the same parameters (p > 0.05). Conclusions. The present work provides a model for quick and efficient assessment of dynamic interactions between tumor and normal brain tissue shortly after surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-447
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain neoplasm
  • Confocal laser scanning microscopy
  • Spheroid


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