Intravital Microscopy (IVM) in Patients With Peritoneal Carcinomatosis (PC)


About this study

This study will investigate the tumor-associated vasculature of patients with peritoneal carcinomatosis, or cancer that spreads along the inner abdominal lining. The investigators will use a technology known as intravital microscopy (IVM) in order to visualize in real-time the tumor-associated vessels of peritoneal disease. The IVM observations may determine if an individual patient's tumor vessels would be amenable to receiving systemic therapy, based on the functionality of the vessels.

Participation eligibility

Participant eligibility includes age, gender, type and stage of disease, and previous treatments or health concerns. Guidelines differ from study to study, and identify who can or cannot participate. There is no guarantee that every individual who qualifies and wants to participate in a trial will be enrolled. Contact the study team to discuss study eligibility and potential participation.

Inclusion Criteria:

  1. Age ≥ 18 years of age.
  2. Have an ECOG Performance Status of ≤ 2.
  3. Have measurable disease in the peritoneum by direct visualization (visible lesion typically > 0.5 cm in maximal diameter).
  4. Carcinomatosis that meets indications for CRS-HIPEC.
  5. Subject must understand the investigational nature of this study and sign an Independent Ethics Committee/Institutional Review Board approved written informed consent form prior to receiving any study related procedure.
  6. A negative skin-prick test to fluorescein.

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. Uncontrolled intercurrent illness including, but not limited to, ongoing or active infection, symptomatic congestive heart failure, unstable angina pectoris, cardiac arrhythmia, or psychiatric illness/social situations.
  2. Renal dysfunction as defined as a GFR < 45.
  3. Liver dysfunction as defined by Child-Pugh score > 5, or LFT's 1.5x above normal range.
  4. Any known allergy or prior reaction to fluorescein or ICG or a positive skin prick test to fluorescein.
  5. Pregnant or nursing female subjects, determined preoperatively with a urine pregnancy test.
  6. Unwilling or unable to follow protocol requirements.
  7. Any condition which in the Investigators' opinion deems the patient unsuitable (e.g., abnormal EKG).
  8. Any condition that excludes CRS-HIPEC as the standard of care for the patient.

Participating Mayo Clinic locations

Study statuses change often. Please contact the study team for the most up-to-date information regarding possible participation.

Mayo Clinic Location Status Contact

Jacksonville, Fla.

Mayo Clinic principal investigator

Emmanuel Gabriel, M.D., Ph.D.

Closed for enrollment

Contact information:

Cancer Center Clinical Trials Referral Office


More information


  • Tumour vessels have been studied extensively as they are critical sites for drug delivery, anti-angiogenic therapies and immunotherapy. As a preclinical tool, intravital microscopy (IVM) allows for in vivo real-time direct observation of vessels at the cellular level. However, to date there are no reports of intravital high-resolution imaging of human tumours in the clinical setting. Here we report the feasibility of IVM examinations of human malignant disease with an emphasis on tumour vasculature as the major site of tumour-host interactions. Consistent with preclinical observations, we show that patient tumour vessels are disorganized, tortuous and ∼50% do not support blood flow. Human tumour vessel diameters are larger than predicted from immunohistochemistry or preclinical IVM, and thereby have lower wall shear stress, which influences delivery of drugs and cellular immunotherapies. Thus, real-time clinical imaging of living human tumours is feasible and allows for detection of characteristics within the tumour microenvironment. Read More on PubMed
  • Visualization of the lymphatic system is clinically necessary during diagnosis or treatment of many conditions and diseases; it is used for identifying and monitoring lymphedema, for detecting metastatic lesions during cancer staging and for locating lymphatic structures so they can be spared during surgical procedures. Imaging lymphatic anatomy and function also plays an important role in experimental studies of lymphatic development and function, where spatial resolution and accessibility are better. Here, we review technologies for visualizing and imaging the lymphatic system for clinical applications. We then describe the use of lymphatic imaging in experimental systems as well as some of the emerging technologies for improving these methodologies. Read More on PubMed
  • Metastasis is the main cause of death in breast cancer patients. Cell migration is an essential component of almost every step of the metastatic cascade, especially the early step of invasion inside the primary tumor. In this report, we have used intravital multiphoton microscopy to visualize the different migration patterns of human breast tumor cells in live primary tumors. We used xenograft tumors of MDA-MB-231 cells as well as a low passage xenograft tumor from orthotopically injected patient-derived breast tumor cells. Direct visualization of human tumor cells in vivo shows two patterns of high-speed migration inside primary tumors: (1) single cells and (2) multicellular streams (i.e., cells following each other in a single file but without cohesive cell junctions). Critically, we found that only streaming and not random migration of single cells was significantly correlated with proximity to vessels, with intravasation and with numbers of elevated circulating tumor cells in the bloodstream. Finally, although the two human tumors were derived from diverse genetic backgrounds, we found that their migratory tumor cells exhibited coordinated gene expression changes that led to the same end-phenotype of enhanced migration involving activating actin polymerization and myosin contraction. Our data are the first direct visualization and assessment of in vivo migration within a live patient-derived breast xenograft tumor. Read More on PubMed
  • This unit describes the methods that we have been developing for analyzing tumor cell motility in mouse and rat models of breast cancer metastasis. Rodents are commonly used both to provide a mammalian system for studying human tumor cells (as xenografts in immunocompromised mice) as well as for following the development of tumors from a specific tissue type in transgenic lines. The Basic Protocol in this unit describes the standard methods used for generation of mammary tumors and imaging them. Additional protocols for labeling macrophages, blood vessel imaging, and image analysis are also included. Read More on PubMed
  • Symptoms and complications of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) differ by metastatic sites. There is a paucity of prospective survival data for patients with peritoneal carcinomatosis colorectal cancer (pcCRC). We characterized outcomes of patients with pcCRC enrolled onto two prospective randomized trials of chemotherapy and contrasted that with other manifestations of mCRC (non-pcCRC). Read More on PubMed
  • Intravital microscopy (IVM) allows for the direct in vivo visualization of dynamic biological processes in their physiological context at high spatial and temporal resolution. Novel nonlinear optical imaging modalities, most prominently multiphoton microscopy, have extended the spectrum of cellular functions amenable to IVM investigation to include migration and cell-cell interactions occurring deep inside the highly light-scattering environments of solid tissues, which had so far been inaccessible to conventional microscopy techniques. This has led to important new insights into immune cell behavior at steady state, as well as their change in behavior during an immune response. Here, we describe in detail a technique that allows for the monitoring of lymphocyte motility in the lymph nodes of mice at the single cell level using multiphoton intravital microscopy (MP-IVM). Read More on PubMed
  • Immune cells are key regulators of neoplastic progression, which is often mediated through their release of cytokines. Inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6 exert tumor-promoting activities by driving growth and survival of neoplastic cells. However, whether these cytokines also have a role in recruiting mediators of adaptive anticancer immunity has not been investigated. Here, we report that homeostatic trafficking of tumor-reactive CD8+ T cells across microvascular checkpoints is limited in tumors despite the presence of inflammatory cytokines. Intravital imaging in tumor-bearing mice revealed that systemic thermal therapy (core temperature elevated to 39.5°C ± 0.5°C for 6 hours) activated an IL-6 trans-signaling program in the tumor blood vessels that modified the vasculature such that it could support enhanced trafficking of CD8+ effector/memory T cells (Tems) into tumors. A concomitant decrease in tumor infiltration by Tregs during systemic thermal therapy resulted in substantial enhancement of Tem/Treg ratios. Mechanistically, IL-6 produced by nonhematopoietic stromal cells acted cooperatively with soluble IL-6 receptor-α and thermally induced gp130 to promote E/P-selectin- and ICAM-1-dependent extravasation of cytotoxic T cells in tumors. Parallel increases in vascular adhesion were induced by IL-6/soluble IL-6 receptor-α fusion protein in mouse tumors and patient tumor explants. Finally, a causal link was established between IL-6-dependent licensing of tumor vessels for Tem trafficking and apoptosis of tumor targets. These findings suggest that the unique IL-6-rich tumor microenvironment can be exploited to create a therapeutic window to boost T cell-mediated antitumor immunity and immunotherapy. Read More on PubMed
  • To evaluate allergy skin testing as a diagnostic tool of adverse reactions to fluorescein and whether allergy and previous sodium fluorescein angiography (SFA) act as predisposing factors. Read More on PubMed
  • Atherosclerosis is a lipid deposition and inflammatory disease that results in considerable morbidity and mortality worldwide. Advances in molecular imaging, particularly near-infrared fluorescence imaging, are now enabling the in vivo study of fundamental biological processes that govern atherogenesis and its complications. Here we describe applications of near-infrared fluorescence reporter technology and intravital fluorescence microscopy to elucidate important biological processes in atherosclerosis in vivo. Read More on PubMed
  • Peritoneal carcinomatosis (PC) from nonovarian malignancies long has been regarded as a terminal disease. Over the past decade, new locoregional therapeutic approaches combining cytoreductive surgery with perioperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy (PIC) have evolved that have demonstrated improved survival. Read More on PubMed
  • Peritoneal carcinomatosis (PC) from gastric cancer has long been regarded a terminal disease with a short median survival. New locoregional therapeutic approaches combining cytoreductive surgery with perioperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy (PIC) have evolved and suggest improved survival. Read More on PubMed
  • The blood vessels supplying tumors are strikingly heterogeneous and differ from their normal counterparts with respect to organization, structure, and function. Six distinctly different tumor vessel types have been identified, and much has been learned about the steps and mechanisms by which they form. Four of the six vessel types (mother vessels, capillaries, glomeruloid microvascular proliferations, and vascular malformations) develop from preexisting normal venules and capillaries by angiogenesis. The two remaining vessel types (feeder arteries and draining veins) develop from arterio-venogenesis, a parallel, poorly understood process that involves the remodeling of preexisting arteries and veins. All six of these tumor vessel types can be induced to form sequentially in normal mouse tissues by an adenoviral vector expressing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A164. Current antiangiogenic cancer therapies directed at VEGF-A or its receptors have been of only limited benefit to cancer patients, perhaps because they target only the endothelial cells of the tumor blood vessel subset that requires exogenous VEGF-A for maintenance. A goal of future work is to identify therapeutic targets on tumor blood vessel endothelial cells that have lost this requirement. Read More on PubMed
  • Histologic assessment is the gold standard technique for the identification of metastatic involvement of lymph nodes in malignant disease, but can only be performed ex vivo and often results in the unnecessary excision of healthy lymph nodes, leading to complications such as lymphedema. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a high-resolution, near-IR imaging modality capable of visualizing microscopic features within tissue. OCT has the potential to provide in vivo assessment of tissue involvement by cancer. In this morphologic study, we show the capability of OCT to image nodal microarchitecture through an assessment of fresh, unstained ex vivo lymph node samples. Examples include both benign human axillary lymph nodes and nodes containing metastatic breast carcinoma. Through accurate correlation with the histologic gold standard, OCT is shown to enable differentiation of lymph node tissue from surrounding adipose tissue, reveal nodal structures such as germinal centers and intranodal vessels, and show both diffuse and well circumscribed patterns of metastatic node involvement. Read More on PubMed
  • Intravital imaging techniques have provided unprecedented insight into tumor microcirculation and microenvironment. For example, these techniques allowed quantitative evaluations of tumor blood vasculature to uncover its abnormal organization, structure and function (e.g., hyper-permeability, heterogeneous and compromised blood flow). Similarly, imaging of functional lymphatics has documented their absence inside tumors. These abnormalities result in elevated interstitial fluid pressure and hinder the delivery of therapeutic agents to tumors. In addition, they induce a hostile microenvironment characterized by hypoxia and acidosis, as documented by intravital imaging. The abnormal microenvironment further lowers the effectiveness of anti-tumor treatments such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy. In addition to these mechanistic insights, intravital imaging may also offer new opportunities to improve therapy. For example, tumor angiogenesis results in immature, dysfunctional vessels--primarily caused by an imbalance in production of pro- and anti-angiogenic factors by the tumors. Restoring the balance of pro- and anti-angiogenic signaling in tumors can "normalize" tumor vasculature and thus, improve its function, as demonstrated by intravital imaging studies in preclinical models and in cancer patients. Administration of cytotoxic therapy during periods of vascular normalization has the potential to enhance treatment efficacy. Read More on PubMed
  • PURPOSE Peritoneal carcinomatosis (PC) from colorectal cancer traditionally is considered a terminal condition. Approaches that combine cytoreductive surgery (CRS) and perioperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy (PIC) have been developed recently. The purpose of this study was to assess early and long-term survival in patients treated with that strategy. PATIENTS AND METHODS A retrospective-cohort, multicentric study from French-speaking countries was performed. All consecutive patients with PC from colorectal cancer who were treated with CRS and PIC (with or without hyperthermia) were included. Patients with PC of appendiceal origin were excluded. Results The study included 523 patients from 23 centers in four French-speaking countries who underwent operation between 1990 and 2007. The median follow-up was 45 months. Mortality and grades 3 to 4 morbidity at 30 days were 3% and 31%, respectively. Overall median survival was 30.1 months. Five-year overall survival was 27%, and five-year disease-free survival was 10%. Complete CRS was performed in 84% of the patients, and median survival was 33 months. Positive independent prognostic factors identified in the multivariate analysis were complete CRS, PC that was limited in extent, no invaded lymph nodes, and the use of adjuvant chemotherapy. Neither the grade of disease nor the presence of liver metastases had a significant prognostic impact. CONCLUSION This combined treatment approach against PC achieved low postoperative morbidity and mortality, and it provided good long-term survival in patients with peritoneal scores lower than 20. These results should improve in the future, because the different teams involved will gain experience. This approach, when feasible, is now considered the gold standard in the French guidelines. Read More on PubMed
  • Tumour blood vessels differ from their normal counterparts for reasons that have received little attention. We report here that they are of at least six distinct types, we describe how each forms, and, looking forward, encourage the targeting of tumour vessel subsets that have lost their vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) dependency and so are likely unresponsive to anti-VEGF-A therapies. Read More on PubMed
  • The thermal element of fever has been found to be beneficial in models of infectious disease. The contributions of fever-range temperatures to the efficacy of the adaptive immune response have only begun to be delineated. There is accumulating evidence that fever-range thermal stress bolsters primary immune surveillance of lymph nodes and Peyer patches by augmenting lymphocyte extravasation across specialized vessels termed high endothelial venules. Molecular mechanisms have recently come to light by which the thermal component of fever alone may promote lymphocyte trafficking, and thereby the probability of mounting a defense against microbial infection. Acquired knowledge of the molecular changes associated with thermal stress may allow for the development of novel therapies for a variety of disease processes. Read More on PubMed
  • For a systemically administered therapeutic agent to reach neoplastic cells, it must enter the blood circulation, cross the vessel wall, move through the extracellular matrix and avoid getting cleared by the lymphatics. In tumours, each of these barriers is abnormal, changes with space and time, and depends on host-tumour interactions. Intravital microscopy has provided unprecedented molecular, cellular, anatomical and functional insights into these barriers and has revealed new approaches to improved detection and treatment. Read More on PubMed
  • The results of laboratory tests performed after fluorescein angiography may be erroneous because of interference by intravenous fluorescein. We investigated this potential interference in four adults at intervals of five minutes, three hours, six hours, and 12 hours after fluorescein injection. We used a panel of serum and urine chemistry tests on seven commonly used instruments. A significant change in the reported concentration of a serum or urine analyte was defined as a result beyond +/- 3 coefficients of variation of the preinjection baseline value for the test on a specific instrument. The determinations of creatinine, total protein, cortisol, digoxin, quinidine, and thyroxine in serum were affected by intravenous fluorescein. The urine tests were unaltered. The physician must be aware of the problem of interpreting clinical chemistry results after fluorescein angiography. Read More on PubMed
  • Fluorescein angiography is an application of the physical phenomenon of fluorescence, which is phosphorescence in which the quantum mechanical decay curve is so rapid that it appears instantaneous, and it consequently has no afterglow. Sodium fluorescein is excited by light energy between 465 and 490 nm, and it decays into a lower state emitting light energy between 520 and 530 nm as fluorescent radiation. The free electrons available for excitation are reduced by chemical bonding between the fluorescein dye and plasma proteins to which up to 80% of the dye is bound in the bloodstream, thus reducing overall fluorescence. Optimalization of the observed and recorded fluorescence is afforded by providing exciter and barrier filters with as little overlap as possible to reduce or eliminate contrast reducing pseudofluorescence. Read More on PubMed
  • Within three decades, anti-angiogenic therapy has rapidly evolved into an integral component of current standard anti-cancer treatment. Anti-angiogenic therapy has fulfilled a number of its earlier proposed promises. The universality of this approach is demonstrated by the broad spectrum of malignant and benign tumor entities, as well as non-neoplastic diseases, that are currently treated with anti-angiogenic agents. In contrast to tumor cell targeting therapies, the development of acquired drug resistance (e.g., via mutations in growth factor receptor signaling genes) has not been described yet for the principal target of anti-angiogenic therapy--the tumor endothelium. Moreover, the tumor endothelium has emerged as a critical target of conventional cancer therapies, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The presumption that tumor growth and metastasis are angiogenesis-dependent implies that the number of potential targets of an anti-cancer therapy could be reduced to those that stimulate the angiogenesis process. Therefore, the set of endogenous angiogenesis stimulants might constitute an "Achilles heel" of cancer. Direct targeting of tumor endothelium via, e.g., endogenous angiogenesis inhibitors poses another promising but clinically less explored therapeutic strategy. Indeed, the majority of current anti-angiogenic approaches block the activity of a single or at most a few pro-angiogenic proteins secreted by tumor cells or the tumor stroma. Based on our systems biology work on the angiogenic switch, we predicted that the redundancy of angiogenic signals might limit the efficacy of anti-angiogenic monotherapies. In support of this hypothesis, emerging experimental evidence suggests that tumors may become refractory or even evade the inhibition of a single pro-angiogenic pathway via compensatory upregulation of alternative angiogenic factors. Here, we discuss current concepts and propose novel strategies to overcome tumor evasion of anti-angiogenic therapy. We believe that early detection of tumors, prediction of tumor evasive mechanisms and rational design of anti-angiogenic combinations will direct anti-angiogenic therapy towards its ultimate goal--the conversion of cancer to a dormant, chronic, manageable disease. Read More on PubMed

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