Efficacy of liposomes and hyperthermia in a human tumor xenograft model: importance of triggered drug release.
The tumor drug concentrations, drug distributions, and therapeutic efficacies achieved by three fundamentally different liposomes, nonthermosensitive liposome (NTSL), traditional thermosensitive liposome (TTSL), and low temperature sensitive liposome (LTSL); free doxorubicin (DOX); and saline in combination with hyperthermia (HT) were directly compared in a human tumor xenograft model. NTSL is a nonthermosensitive liposome in the physiological temperature range, TTSL is a traditional thermosensitive liposome that triggers in the range of approximately 42-45 degrees C and releases drug over approximately 30 min, and LTSL is a new low temperature sensitive liposome that triggers in the range of approximately 39-40 degrees C and releases drug in a matter of seconds. Because of the different attributes of the liposomes, it was possible to delineate the relative importance of liposome drug encapsulation, HT cytotoxicity, HT-drug interaction, HT-induced liposomal delivery, and HT-triggered liposomal drug release in achieving antitumor activity. Athymic nude mice bearing the FaDu human tumor xenograft were given a single i.v. dose of 5 mg/kg of DOX (free drug or liposome encapsulated), and the tumors were then heated to either 34 degrees C or 42 degrees C for 1 h at 34 degrees C. All treatment groups were similar, achieving low concentrations of DOX (0-4.5 ng/mg). At 42 degrees C, the LTSL (25.6 ng/mg) achieved the highest DOX concentration (P < 0.04), but all three liposomal formulations (7.3-25.6 ng/mg) were higher than saline or DOX (0-0.7 ng/mg; P < 0.02). LTSL + HT was also the only group that resulted in significant amounts of DNA-bound DOX (silver nitrate-extractable fraction; P < 0.02). Tumor tissue sections were visualized for DOX fluorescence to investigate the local distribution of the drug in the tumor and confirm the relative drug concentrations based on fluorescence intensity. There was relatively little fluorescence seen with treatment groups at 34 degrees C. At 42 degrees C, the LTSL showed the most DOX fluorescence (P < 0.01), and the fluorescence, although not homogeneous, was pervasive throughout the tumor sections. Therapeutic efficacy of treatments was determined from tumor growth time. At 34 degrees C, the only treatment group significantly better than the saline group (9.8 days) was the NTSL group, with a growth time of 20.9 days (P < 0.02). At 42 degrees C, all three liposomal formulations were more efficacious than DOX. LTSL + HT had the longest growth time (51.4 days) and the most number of local controls at 60 days (six of nine tumors). With HT, the DOX concentrations and fluorescence were tightly correlated with tumor growth delay, indicating that adequate (increased) drug delivery can be predictive of therapeutic effect. Overall, the LTSL + HT group showed the largest DOX concentration, the highest and most pervasive DOX fluorescence, and the most antitumor effect. Thus, HT-triggered liposomal drug release may account for the largest differential therapeutic effect and demonstrates the importance of rapid drug release from the drug carriers at the tumor site.
Kong, G; Anyarambhatla, G; Petros, WP; Braun, RD; Colvin, OM; Needham, D; Dewhirst, MW
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