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Osteosarcoma is rare and little improvement in survival rates has occurred in the last 25 years despite modern chemotherapeutic treatment. Bioluminescent cell lines for the modeling of osteosarcoma have shown success in tracking metastases in vivo, but commonly use adenoviral vectors to transfect the native cell line with bioluminescent reporters. The purpose of this study was to develop an orthotopic model for metastatic osteosarcoma capable of in vivo monitoring of metastatic and primary tumor burden in an immunocompetent mouse and compare that model to its wild type pathogenesis. K7M2 cells were transfected using a plasmid vector and were stable after 12 weeks. Thirty-four female BALB/c mice aged four to five weeks underwent orthotopic implantation of either wild type (n=12) or transfected (n=22) K7M2 cells in the proximal tibia. Mice were monitored for tumor growth and weekly In Vivo Imaging System (IVIS) imaging was performed to monitor for pulmonary metastasis. Although tumors developed sooner in the wild type group, no significant differences were seen compared to Transfected Group 1 in rate of inoculation, growth rates after first detection, metastatic rate, and time between inoculation and death. This study establishes a new murine model for metastatic osteosarcoma using the K7M2-wt cell line transfected with a non-viral plasmid luciferase vector. The benefits of this preclinical model include an intact immune system and orthotopically driven metastatic disease; this model appears comparable to its wild type counterpart. In the future, the model may be used to examine promising immunomodulatory therapies using bioluminescence in vivo.

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Grisez BT, Ray JJ, Bostian PA, Markel JE, Lindsey BA. Highly metastatic K7M2 cell line: A novel murine model capable of in vivo imaging via luciferase vector transfection. Journal of Orthopaedic Research®. 2018;36(8):2296-2304. doi:10.1002/jor.23868