Invasive catheterization of the hepatic artery for preclinical investigation of liver-directed therapies in rodent models of liver cancer

Alexander Y. Sheu, Zhuoli Zhang, Reed A. Omary, Andrew Christian Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study demonstrated invasive and reproducible hepatic artery catheterization in rats. A rigorously documented guide and pictorial essay describes the performance of an invasive hepatic artery catheterization technique suitable for the study of liver-targeted interventional procedures in rodent models of liver cancer. The goal was to produce a well-illustrated guide to hepatic artery catheterization under direct visualization via the gastroduodenal artery (GDA). Materials and Methods: 20 Sprague Dawley rats were inoculated with McA-RH7777 HCC cells in the left lateral liver lobe. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to measure tumor growth. Catheter placement in the hepatic artery proper was performed by entry through the GDA under direct visualization after laparotomy. Digital subtraction angiography confirmed catheter placement in the hepatic artery proper. Antegrade blood flow to the liver was restored after catheter removal. Rats were euthanized after procedures; livers were harvested for hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining. Results: 85.0% of inoculated animals developed measurable tumors on MRI; average tumor size was 6.3 ± 2.3 mm × 4.3 ± 1.5 mm (mean ± SD). 94.1% of animals with tumors were successfully catheterized. H&E staining demonstrated tumor growth in all inoculated animals, including those with no measurable tumors on MRI. Conclusion: Invasive catheter placement in the hepatic artery of a rodent model of HCC can be performed reproducibly according to the techniques described in this tutorial. These catheterization techniques are ideal for a broad range of preclinical IR studies intending to evaluate the efficacy of intra-arterial therapies for the treatment of primary and metastatic liver tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-278
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Translational Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


  • Catheterization
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)
  • Intra-arterial (IA)
  • McA-RH7777
  • Rodent model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cancer Research


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