Increased Lipiodol uptake in hepatocellular carcinoma possibly due to increased membrane fluidity by dexamethasone and tamoxifen

Nucl Med Biol. 2010 Oct;37(7):777-84. doi: 10.1016/j.nucmedbio.2010.03.013.


Introduction: Lipiodol is used as a vector for chemoembolization or internal radiotherapy in unresectable hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs). The aim of this study is to improve the tumoral uptake of Lipiodol by modulating membrane fluidizing agents to optimize the effectiveness of Lipiodol vectorized therapy.

Methods: The effect of dexamethasone and tamoxifen on membrane fluidity was studied in vitro by electron paramagnetic resonance applied to rat hepatocarcinoma cell line N1S1. The tumoral uptake of Lipiodol was studied in vivo on rats with HCC, which had been previously treated by dexamethasone and/or tamoxifen, after intra-arterial administration of (99m)Tc-SSS-Lipiodol.

Results: The two molecules studied here exhibit a fluidizing effect in vitro which appears dependent on time and dose, with a maximum fluidity obtained after 1 hr at concentrations of 20 μM for dexamethasone and 200 nM for tamoxifen. In vivo, while the use of dexamethasone or tamoxifen alone tends to lead to increased tumoral uptake of Lipiodol, this effect does not reach levels of significance. On the other hand, there is a significant increase in the tumoral uptake of (99m)Tc-SSS-Lipiodol in rats pretreated by both dexamethasone and tamoxifen, with a tumoral uptake (expressed in % of injected activity per g of tumor) of 13.57 ± 3.65% after treatment, as against 9.45 ± 4.44% without treatment (P<.05).

Conclusions: Dexamethasone and tamoxifen fluidify the N1S1 cells membrane, leading to an increase in the tumoral uptake of Lipiodol. These drugs could be combined with chemo-Lipiodol-embolization or radiolabeled Lipiodol, with a view to improving the effectiveness of HCCs therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism*
  • Dexamethasone / pharmacology*
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Ethiodized Oil / pharmacokinetics*
  • Injections, Intra-Arterial
  • Liver Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Membrane Fluidity / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Tamoxifen / pharmacology*
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Tamoxifen
  • Dexamethasone
  • Ethiodized Oil