Simultaneous in vivo optical quantification of key metabolic and vascular endpoints reveals tumor metabolic diversity in murine breast tumor models

Caigang Zhu, Martin Li, Thomas Vincent, Hannah L. Martin, Brian T. Crouch, Amy F. Martinez, Megan C. Madonna, Gregory M. Palmer, Mark W. Dewhirst, Nimmi Ramanujam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Therapeutically exploiting vascular and metabolic endpoints becomes critical to translational cancer studies because altered vascularity and deregulated metabolism are two important cancer hallmarks. The metabolic and vascular phenotypes of three sibling breast tumor lines with different metastatic potential are investigated in vivo with a newly developed quantitative spectroscopy system. All tumor lines have different metabolic and vascular characteristics compared to normal tissues, and there are strong positive correlations between metabolic (glucose uptake and mitochondrial membrane potential) and vascular (oxygen saturations and hemoglobin concentrations) parameters for metastatic (4T1) tumors but not for micrometastatic (4T07) and nonmetastatic (67NR) tumors. A longitudinal study shows that both vascular and metabolic endpoints of 4T1 tumors increased up to a specific tumor size threshold beyond which these parameters decreased. The synchronous changes between metabolic and vascular parameters, along with the strong positive correlations between these endpoints suggest that 4T1 tumors rely on strong oxidative phosphorylation in addition to glycolysis. This study illustrates the great potential of our optical technique to provide valuable dynamic information about the interplay between the metabolic and vascular status of tumors, with important implications for translational cancer investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere201800372
JournalJournal of Biophotonics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the generous support by the funding from NIH (5R42CA156901-03). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim


  • optical spectroscopy
  • tumor metabolism
  • tumor metastasis
  • vascular microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (all)
  • Materials Science (all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • Engineering (all)
  • Physics and Astronomy (all)


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