A novel intravertebral tumor model in rabbits

Eric Amundson, Gustavo Pradilla, Priscilla Brastianos, Carlos Bagley, Lee H. Riley, Ira M. Garonzik, Edward McCarthy, Jean Paul Wolinsky, Ziya L. Gokaslan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Although the majority of human epidural spinal metastases originate in the vertebral body, current animal models of spinal epidural tumors are limited to extraosseous tumor placement. We investigated the onset of paraparesis, radiographic changes (magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] and computed tomographic [CT] scans), and histopathological findings after intraosseous injection of VX2 carcinoma cells into the lower thoracic vertebrae of rabbits. METHODS: New Zealand white rabbits (n = 23) were injected with a 15-μl suspension containing 300,000 VX2 carcinoma cells in the lowest thoracic vertebral body. Lower extremity motor function was assessed daily. For the first 3 animals, MRI scans (T2-weighted and T1-weighted ± gadolinium) were acquired at postoperative day (POD) 14 and at the onset of paraparesis. Noncontrast CT scans were obtained on POD 7 and at the time of paraparesis. At the onset of paraparesis, the animals ware killed and the spines were dissected. After demineralization, hematoxylin and eosin cross sections were obtained. RESULTS: Before the onset of paraparesis, the CT and MRI scans revealed no gross tumor. At the onset of paraparesis, CT scans demonstrated an osteolytic tumor centered at the junction of the left pedicle and vertebral body, and MRI scans demonstrated epidural tumor arising from the body and compressing the spinal cord. Histopathological examination confirmed carcinoma arising from the body and extending into the canal, with widespread osteolytic activity. By POD 28, 72% of the animals had become paraparetic, and by the termination of the experiment on POD 120, 89% had become paraparetic. CONCLUSION: We established a novel intraosseous intravertebral tumor model in rabbits and characterized it with respect to onset of paraparesis, imaging features, and histopathological findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-346
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2005


  • Animal model
  • Metastases
  • Rabbit
  • Spinal
  • VX2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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