First-in-Human Intrathoracic Implantation of Multidrug-Eluting Microdevices for In Situ Chemotherapeutic Sensitivity Testing as Proof of Concept in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Ann Surg. 2022 Jan 21. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000005385. Online ahead of print.


Objective: To evaluate the safety and feasibility of implantation and retrieval of a novel implantable microdevice (IMD) in NSCLC patients undergoing operative resection.

Summary background data: Adjuvant therapy has limited impact on post-surgical outcomes in NSCLC due to the inability to predict optimal treatment regimens.

Methods: An IMD measuring 6.5 mm by 0.7 mm, containing micro-reservoirs allowing for high-throughput localized drug delivery, was developed and loaded with 12 chemotherapeutic agents. Five patients with peripheral lung lesions larger than 1.0 cm were enrolled in this phase 1 clinical study. IMDs were inserted into tumors intraoperatively under direct vision, removed with the resected specimen, and retrieved in pathology. Surrounding tissues were sectioned, stained, and analyzed for tissue drug response to the IMD-delivered microdoses of these agents by a variety of pharmacodynamic markers.

Results: A total of 14 IMDs were implanted intraoperatively with 13 (93%) successfully retrieved. After technique refinement, IMDs were reliably inserted and retrieved in open, VATS, and robotic cases. No severe adverse reactions were observed. The one retained IMD has remained in place without movement or any adverse effects. Analysis of patient blood revealed no detection of chemotherapeutic agents. We observed differential sensitivities of patient tumors to the drugs on the IMD.

Conclusions: A multi-drug IMD can be safely inserted and retrieved into lung tumors during a variety of surgical approaches. Future studies will encompass pre-operative placement to better examine specific tumor responsiveness to therapeutic agents, allowing clinicians to tailor treatment regimens to the microenvironment of each patient.