Strategies for improving chemotherapeutic delivery to solid tumors mediated by vascular permeability modulation
Roy Chaudhuri, Tista
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An essential mode of distribution of blood-borne chemotherapeutic agents within a solid tumor is via the micro-circulation. Poor tumor perfusion, because of a lack of functional vasculature or a lack of microvessels, as well as low tumor vascular permeability, can prevent adequate deposition of even low molecular-weight agents into the tumor. The modulation of tumor vascular function and density can provides numerous strategies for improving intratumor deposition of chemotherapeutic agents. Here we investigated strategies to improve drug delivery to two tumor types that share in common poor drug delivery, but differ in the underlying cause. First, in an angiogenesis-driven brain tumor model of Glioblastoma , the vascular permeability barrier, along with poorly-functional vasculature, hinders drug delivery. A strategy of nanoparticle-based tumor 'priming' to attack the vascular permeability barrier, employing sterically stabilized liposomal doxorubicin (SSL-DXR), was investigated. Functional and histological evaluation of tumor vasculature revealed that after an initial period of depressed vascular permeability and vascular pruning 3–4 days after SSL-DXR administration, vascular permeability and perfusion were restored and then elevated after 5–7 days. As a result of tumor priming, deposition of subsequently-administered nanoparticles was enhanced, and the efficacy of temozolomide (TMZ), if administered during the window of elevated permeability, was increased. The sequenced regimen resulted in a persistent reduction of the tumor proliferative index and a 40% suppression of tumor volume, compared to animals that received both agents simultaneously. Second, in a hypovascular, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma model, disruption of tumor-stromal communication via sonic hedgehog (sHH) signaling pathway inhibition mediated an indirect vascular proliferation and a more than 2-fold increase in intratumor nanoparticle deposition. Enhanced delivery of SSL-DXR in tumors pre-treated with sHH-inhibitor led to a 90% lifespan extension in animals that received a single cycle of the combined regimen, and a 200% extension in animals receiving 3-cycles of treatment, compared to control animals or those receiving either of the agents alone. We surmise that direct or indirect modulation of tumor vasculature can provide new opportunities for combination therapies that could improve delivery and efficacy of both small- and large- molecular weight agents in treatment-resistant solid tumors.