Microbubbles triggered with localized ultrasound (US) can improve tumor drug delivery and retention. Termed US-stimulated drug delivery, this strategy was applied to head and neck cancer (HNC) in a post-surgical tumor resection model. Luciferase-positive HNC squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) was implanted in the flanks of nude athymic mice (N = 24) that underwent various degrees of surgical tumor resection (0%, 50% or 100%). After surgery, animals received adjuvant therapy with cetuximab-IRDye alone, or cetuximab-IRDye in combination with US-stimulated drug delivery or saline injections (control) on days 4, 7 and 10. Tumor drug delivery was assessed on days 0, 4, 7, 10, 14 and 17 with an in vivo fluorescence imaging system, and tumor viability was evaluated at the same times with in vivo bioluminescence imaging. Tumor caliper measurements occurred two times per week for 24 d. Optical imaging revealed that in the 50% tumor resection group, US-stimulated drug delivery resulted in a significant increase in cetuximab delivery compared with administration of drug alone on day 10 (day of peak fluorescence) (p = 0.03). Tumor viability decreased in all groups that received cetuximab-IRDye in combination with US-stimulated drug delivery, compared with the group that received only the drug. After various degrees of surgical resection, this novel study reports positive improvements in drug uptake in the residual cancer cells when drug delivery is stimulated with US.
Keywords: Adjuvant therapy; Cetuximab; Drug delivery; Head and neck cancer; Microbubbles; Optical imaging; Ultrasound.
Copyright © 2014 World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.