Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Medical Biophysics


Dr. Paula Foster


Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Metastasis to the brain is a life-threatening complication of melanoma in which the clinical incidence is 6-43%. Few animal models exist for melanoma brain metastases, and many are not clinically relevant. MRI was implemented to examine the development of tumors in a clinically relevant model of melanoma brain metastases. Balanced steady-state free precession (b-SSFP) sequence was used to assess total metastasis burden, T1wSE MRI using Gd-DTPA was used to assess blood-tumour barrier (BTB) integrity in vivo and dextran perfusion was used to assess BTB leakiness in situ. This model produced low tumour burden ranging from 5 to 19 metastases at endpoint, many nonenhancing metastases were detected at early time points and there was considerable heterogeneity in permeability of the BTB for melanoma brain metastases. This clinically relevant model can be applied in future studies involving testing efficacy of chemotherapeutic agents.