Objectives: To develop an epirubicin-loaded, water-soluble mucoadhesive gels that have the correct rheological properties to facilitate their delivery into the bladder via a catheter, while allowing for their spread across the bladder wall with limited expansion of the bladder and increasing the retention of epirubicin in the bladder and flushing with urine.
Methods: Epirubicin-loaded hydroxyl ethyl cellulose (HEC) and hydroxy propyl methyl cellulose (HPMC) gels were manufactured and tested for their rheological properties. Their ability to be pushed through a catheter was also assessed as was their in-vitro drug release, spreading in a bladder and retention of epirubicin after flushing with simulated urine.
Key findings: Epirubicin drug release was viscosity-dependent. The 1 and 1.5% HEC gels and the 1, 1.5 and 2% HPMC gels had the correct viscosity to be administered through a model catheter and spread evenly across the bladder wall under the pressure of the detrusor muscle. The epirubicin-loaded gels had an increased retention time in the bladder when compared with a standard intravesical solution of epirubicin, even after successive flushes with simulated urine.
Conclusion: The increased retention of epirubicin in the bladder by the HEC and HPMC gels warrant further investigation, using an in-vivo model, to assess their potential for use as treatment for non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer.
Keywords: bladder cancer; epirubicin; gels; intravesical delivery; rheology.
© 2015 Royal Pharmaceutical Society.