Preclinical studies of lung cancer require suitable large-animal models to allow evaluation and development of surgical and interventional techniques. We assessed the feasibility and safety of a novel rabbit lung cancer model of solitary tumors, in which real-time computed tomography fluoroscopy is used to guide inoculation of VX2 carcinoma single-cell suspensions. Thirty-eight rabbits were divided into four groups according to the volume of the VX2 tissue or cell suspension, the volume of lipiodol, the volume of Matrigel, and the injection needle size. The mixtures were percutaneously injected into rabbit lungs under real-time computed tomography fluoroscopy guidance. Two weeks later, VX2 lung carcinomas were confirmed via positron emission tomography/computed tomography, necropsy, and histology. Real-time computed tomography fluoroscopy allowed the precise inoculation of the tumor cell suspensions containing lipiodol, while the use of Matrigel and a small needle prevented leakage of the suspensions into the lung parenchyma. Solitary lung tumors were successfully established in rabbits (n = 22) inoculated with single-cell suspensions (150 μL), lipiodol (150 μL), and Matrigel (150 μL) using a 26-gauge needle. This combination was determined to be optimal. Pneumothorax was observed in only two of the 38 rabbits (5.3%), both of which survived to the end of the study without any intervention. Real-time computed tomography fluoroscopy-guided inoculation of VX2 single-cell suspensions with lipiodol and Matrigel using a small needle is an easy and safe method to establish solitary lung tumors in Rabbits.
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