Metastatic disease to the liver is one of the major factors determining the outcome of colonic resection with curative interventions in human patients. Therefore, animal models for studies of liver metastasis have been developed. Humane endpoints are needed for the evaluation of the animal condition. Liver metastases were modelled by hepatic subcapsular injection of a syngeneic rat colon cancer cell line (DHD/K12-PROb) in BDIX/OrlIco rats. In this study, we present a detailed description of a laparoscopic technique for the direct inspection of liver metastases. That way a qualitative impression of the metastases was obtained. We suggest, as a new humane endpoint, that one animal should only have 1-2 separately growing metastases, each of a maximum size of 10 mm(2). In future, the method has to be developed further to measure the size of the metastases in a more quantitatively precise manner. Although the animal has to be anaesthetized each time, laparoscopy is considered a minor surgical procedure as only two small puncture wounds are made through the abdominal wall. Because laparoscopy offers a direct view of the hidden tumours and their sizes, as well as of possible complications (e.g. peritoneal tumour growth), one can prevent unnecessary discomfort. We therefore think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, as laparoscopy helps to avoid the unnecessary suffering due to large tumours which may only be detected at late stages by conventional procedures.
Laboratory Animals, 2004, Vol 38, Issue 2, p. 162-168