Background: There is a high rate of positive surgical margins with resection of liver metastases in colorectal cancer (CRC). The present study reports using a fluorescent anti-mucin 4 (MUC4) antibodies to label primary CRC and liver metastases to better visualize tumor margins in mouse models. Methods: Western blotting for MUC4 protein expression of normal colon and CRC tumor lysates was performed. Orthotopic primary and liver metastatic CRC mouse models received anti-MUC4 antibody conjugated to IR800 (MUC4-IR800). Mice were sacrificed and imaged after 48 hours. Results: Western blotting demonstrated increased MUC4 expression in a human CRC cell line and patient-derived primary and liver-metastatic CRCs. The LS174T orthotopic primary CRC model tumor to background ratio (TBR) was 2.04 (±0.35). The patient-derived orthotopic xenograft (PDOX) primary CRC model TBR was 2.17 (±0.35). The PDOX liver metastasis model TBR was 1.56 (±0.53). Conclusion: MUC4-IR800 provided bright labeling of primary and liver tumors in CRC orthotopic mouse models, demonstrating their future clinical potential for margin visualization in fluorescence guided surgery.
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