Hyaluronidase induces a transcapillary pressure gradient and improves the distribution and uptake of liposomal doxorubicin (Caelyx) in human osteosarcoma xenografts

Br J Cancer. 2005 Jul 11;93(1):81-8. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6602626.


Liposomal drug delivery enhances the tumour selective localisation and may improve the uptake compared to free drug. However, the drug distribution within the tumour tissue may still be heterogeneous. Degradation of the extracellular matrix is assumed to improve the uptake and penetration of drugs. The effect of the ECM-degrading enzyme hyaluronidase on interstitial fluid pressure and microvascular pressure were measured in human osteosarcoma xenografts by the wick-in-needle and micropipette technique, respectively. The tumour uptake and distribution of liposomal doxorubicin were studied on tumour sections by confocal laser scanning microscopy. The drugs were injected i.v. 1 h after the hyaluronidase pretreatment. Intratumoral injection of hyaluronidase reduced interstitial fluid pressure in a nonlinear dose-dependent manner. Maximum interstitial fluid pressure reduction of approximately 50% was found after injection of 1500 U hyaluronidase. Neither intratumoral nor i.v. injection of hyaluronidase induced any changes in the microvascular pressure. Thus, hyaluronidase induced a transcapillary pressure gradient, resulting in a four-fold increase in the tumour uptake and improving the distribution of the liposomal doxorubicin. Hyaluronidase reduces a major barrier for drug delivery by inducing a transcapillary pressure gradient, and administration of hyaluronidase adjuvant with liposomal doxorubicin may thus improve the therapeutic outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / pharmacokinetics*
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacokinetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronoglucosaminidase / pharmacology*
  • Liposomes
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Osteosarcoma / metabolism*
  • Transplantation, Heterologous


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Liposomes
  • Doxorubicin
  • Hyaluronoglucosaminidase