Changes in tumor stiffness for early prediction of tumor response to sorafenib: a proof-of-concept study with elastosonography in an animal model of Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC)

Salvatore, Veronica (2011) Changes in tumor stiffness for early prediction of tumor response to sorafenib: a proof-of-concept study with elastosonography in an animal model of Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC), [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze mediche generali e scienze dei servizi: progetto n. 4 "Ultrasonologia in medicina umana e veterinaria", 23 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/3481.
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Background and aims: Sorafenib is the reference therapy for advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). No method exists to predict in the very early period subsequent individual response. Starting from the clinical experience in humans that subcutaneous metastases may rapidly change consistency under sorafenib and that elastosonography a new ultrasound based technique allows assessment of tissue stiffness, we investigated the role of elastonography in the very early prediction of tumor response to sorafenib in a HCC animal model. Methods: HCC (Huh7 cells) subcutaneous xenografting in mice was utilized. Mice were randomized to vehicle or treatment with sorafenib when tumor size was 5-10 mm. Elastosonography (Mylab 70XVG, Esaote, Genova, Italy) of the whole tumor mass on a sagittal plane with a 10 MHz linear transducer was performed at different time points from treatment start (day 0, +2, +4, +7 and +14) until mice were sacrified (day +14), with the operator blind to treatment. In order to overcome variability in absolute elasticity measurement when assessing changes over time, values were expressed in arbitrary units as relative stiffness of the tumor tissue in comparison to the stiffness of a standard reference stand-off pad lying on the skin over the tumor. Results: Sor-treated mice showed a smaller tumor size increase at day +14 in comparison to vehicle-treated (tumor volume increase +192.76% vs +747.56%, p=0.06). Among Sor-treated tumors, 6 mice showed a better response to treatment than the other 4 (increase in volume +177% vs +553%, p=0.011). At day +2, median tumor elasticity increased in Sor-treated group (+6.69%, range –30.17-+58.51%), while decreased in the vehicle group (-3.19%, range –53.32-+37.94%) leading to a significant difference in absolute values (p=0.034). From this time point onward, elasticity decreased in both groups, with similar speed over time, not being statistically different anymore. In Sor-treated mice all 6 best responders at day 14 showed an increase in elasticity at day +2 (ranging from +3.30% to +58.51%) in comparison to baseline, whereas 3 of the 4 poorer responders showed a decrease. Interestingly, these 3 tumours showed elasticity values higher than responder tumours at day 0. Conclusions: Elastosonography appears a promising non-invasive new technique for the early prediction of HCC tumor response to sorafenib. Indeed, we proved that responder tumours are characterized by an early increase in elasticity. The possibility to distinguish a priori between responders and non responders based on the higher elasticity of the latter needs to be validated in ad-hoc experiments as well as a confirmation of our results in humans is warranted.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Salvatore, Veronica
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze mediche e chirurgiche cliniche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) elastosonography antiangiogenic treatments
Data di discussione
25 Marzo 2011

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