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Estimation of rat mammary tumor volume using caliper and ultrasonography measurements


Mammary tumors similar to those observed in women can be induced in rats by intraperitoneal administration of N-methyl-N-nitrosourea. Determining tumor volume is a useful and quantitative way to monitor tumor progression. In this study, the authors measured dimensions of rat mammary tumors using a caliper and using real-time compound B-mode ultrasonography. They then used different formulas to calculate tumor volume from these tumor measurements and compared the calculated tumor volumes with the real tumor volume to identify the formulas that gave the most accurate volume calculations. They found that caliper and ultrasonography measurements were significantly correlated but that tumor volumes calculated using different formulas varied substantially. Mammary tumors seemed to take on an oblate spheroid geometry. The most accurate volume calculations were obtained using the formula V = (W2 × L)/2 for caliper measurements and the formula V = (4/3) × π × (L/2) × (L/2) × (D/2) for ultrasonography measurements, where V is tumor volume, W is tumor width, L is tumor length and D is tumor depth.

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Figure 4: Number of tumors in rats receiving MNU (group I).
Figure 5: Number of tumors on right and left mammary chains.
Figure 6: Number of tumors in thoracic and inguinal mammary glands.


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This work was supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (PTDC/DES/114122/2009 and Pest-OE/AGR/UI0772/2011 unity) and by the European Regional Development Fund (COMPETE, FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-014707/022692).

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Correspondence to DVM, PhD Mário Ginja.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Faustino-Rocha, A., Oliveira, P., Pinho-Oliveira, J. et al. Estimation of rat mammary tumor volume using caliper and ultrasonography measurements. Lab Anim 42, 217–224 (2013).

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