Disposition Characteristics of Macromolecules in Tumor-Bearing Mice

Pharm Res. 1990 Apr;7(4):339-46. doi: 10.1023/a:1015807119753.


As part of the strategy for the design of macromolecular carriers for drug targeting, the disposition characteristics of macromolecules were studied in mice bearing tumors that served as target tissues. Eight kinds of macromolecules including four polysaccharides and four proteins with different molecular weights and electric charges were used; tissue distribution and tumor localization after intravenous injection were studied. Pharmacokinetic analysis revealed that the tissue radioactivity uptake rate index calculated in terms of clearance was different among the tested compounds; especially, the urinary radioactivity excretion clearances and the total hepatic radioactivity uptake clearances varied widely. Compounds with low molecular weights (approximately 10 kD) or positive charges showed lower tumor radioactivity accumulation; radioactivity was rapidly eliminated from the plasma via rapid urinary excretion or extensive hepatic uptake, respectively. On the other hand, large and negatively charged compounds, carboxymethyl dextran, bovine serum albumin, and mouse immunoglobulin G, showed higher radioactivity accumulation in the tumor (calculated total amounts were 15.6, 10.8, and 20.8% of the dose, respectively) and prolonged retention in the circulation. These results demonstrated that the total systemic exposure rather than the uptake rate index was correlated with total tumor uptake. Molecular weight and electric charge of the macromolecules significantly affected their disposition characteristics and, consequently, determined radioactivity accumulation in the tumor. It was concluded that a drug-carrier complex designed for systemic tumor targeting should be polyanionic in nature and larger than 70,000 in molecular weight.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry, Physical
  • Dextrans / pharmacokinetics*
  • Drug Carriers*
  • Indium Radioisotopes
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Molecular Weight
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / metabolism*
  • Proteins / pharmacokinetics*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Dextrans
  • Drug Carriers
  • Indium Radioisotopes
  • Proteins