Aerosol gemcitabine inhibits the growth of primary osteosarcoma and osteosarcoma lung metastases

Int J Cancer. 2005 Sep 1;116(3):458-63. doi: 10.1002/ijc.21011.


Osteosacarcoma (OS) lung metastases are often resistant to chemotherapy. Most anticancer drugs are administered systemically. In many cases this is followed by dose-dependent toxicity, which may not allow the achievement of therapeutic levels in lungs to eradicate metastases. We determined the efficacy of gemcitabine (GCB) by administering it directly to the lungs via aerosol and studied the role of the Fas pathway in response to the therapy. We used 2 osteosarcoma lung metastases animal models: human LM7 cells that form lung metastases in mice following intravenous injection and murine LM8 cells, which grows subcutaneously in mice and spontaneously metastasize to the lung. Treatment was initiated when the presence of lung metastases had been established. Aerosol GCB inhibited the growth of lung metastases in mice. Intraperitoneal GCB administration at similar dosage had no effect on lung metastases. Besides its direct effect on lung metastases, aerosol GCB suppressed the growth of subcutaneous LM8 tumor. Histopathological examination of mice receiving aerosol GCB showed no evidence of toxicity. Lungs are distinguished from other tissues by the constitutive expression of FasL. Since exposure of tumor cells to GCB upregulated Fas expression, we hypothesized that the susceptibility of the tumor cells to ligand-induced cell death by resident lung cells may be increased. Therefore, the Fas pathway may contribute to the therapeutic effect of aerosol GCB.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols
  • Animals
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / administration & dosage*
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / pharmacology*
  • Bone Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Bone Neoplasms / veterinary
  • Deoxycytidine / administration & dosage*
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Deoxycytidine / pharmacology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Lung Neoplasms / veterinary
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Osteosarcoma / drug therapy
  • Osteosarcoma / pathology*
  • Osteosarcoma / veterinary
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • fas Receptor / biosynthesis


  • Aerosols
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • fas Receptor
  • Deoxycytidine
  • gemcitabine