British Journal of Cancer vol:83 issue:7 pages:899-905
Temporary reduction in blood-flow within tumour blood vessels can reduce oxygen supply leading to transient perfusion-limited hypoxia. Consequent selection of cells with mutations and reduced radiosensitivity can lead to disease progression and treatment-resistance. In the present study, we investigated whether heterogeneity of labelling after thymidine analogue administration is related to perfusion variations, and if so, could it be quantified and used as a perfusion indicator. Perfusion in murine RIF1 tumours was reduced by hydralazine or increased by nicotinamide and the mice subsequently injected with IdUrd. Tumours were halved for analysis by both flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry. Tumour sections were stained for vasculature and IdUrd. Each blood vessel was scored for the density of IdUrd-labelled cells surrounding it, using a semi-quantitative scoring system. Flow cytometry showed that the IdUrd labelling index and intensity decreased by approximately 50% after hydralazine. In tumour sections of control animals, 2.9% of vessels showed no IdUrd label. In contrast, after hydralazine almost 50% of vessels had no surrounding IdUrd labelling, whereas after nicotinamide there were fewer vessels with low labelling and a higher median score. In conclusion, changes of tumour perfusion by pharmacological agents is reflected in changes in tumour-cell labelling by the thymidine analogue IdUrd, suggesting that IdUrd labelling could be used to indicate perfusion in individual vessels in human tumours.