Ion exchange tumor targeting: a new approach

Clin Cancer Res. 1999 Oct;5(10 Suppl):3056s-3058s.


Connective tissues are distinguished by the types, concentrations, and organizations of material in the extracellular matrix. Many physiological functions are determined largely by the nature and organization of the extracellular components. The components are characterized by their content and distribution of charged, mostly anionic groups. The distinct roles played by the charges are sometimes modeled by analogy to the transport theory of ion exchange resins. The intent of this study was to investigate whether the properties of the tumor matrix could be used for selective, charge-dependent accumulation of charge-modified dextran. Ten patients with diagnosed superficial urinary bladder carcinoma were included in the study. They received intravesical instillations of technetium-99m-labeled charge-modified dextran derivatives (approximately 0.1-1 mg; approximately 50 MBq in saline; 30-min incubation). After treatment and resection, samples were taken from normal and diseased tissue. The result clearly demonstrated a charge-dependent difference in the quotient of radioactive uptake in tumor tissue: normal tissue. Instillations of cationic dextran yielded a high quotient, up to 3000. Normal tissue had background activity. Anionic dextran yielded a low quotient, 1.8-2, with increased background (i.e. uptake in normal tissue). Neutral dextran gave a quotient of up to 90. No radioactivity could be detected in blood. The tumors in this study apparently displayed cation-exchanging properties. We will continue this investigation and determine whether this is a general property of bladder carcinomas and whether other carcinomas display ion exchange properties. If this is the case, the finding could have important implications for the local treatment of several cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dextrans / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Ion Exchange
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Technetium / therapeutic use*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / radiotherapy*


  • Dextrans
  • Technetium