Extravascular transport in normal and tumor tissues

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 1986;5(2):115-70. doi: 10.1016/s1040-8428(86)80023-3.


The transport characteristics of the normal and tumor tissue extravascular space provide the basis for the determination of the optimal dosage and schedule regimes of various pharmacological agents in detection and treatment of cancer. In order for the drug to reach the cellular space where most therapeutic action takes place, several transport steps must first occur: (1) tissue perfusion; (2) permeation across the capillary wall; (3) transport through interstitial space; and (4) transport across the cell membrane. Any of these steps including intracellular events such as metabolism can be the rate-limiting step to uptake of the drug, and these rate-limiting steps may be different in normal and tumor tissues. This review examines these transport limitations, first from an experimental point of view and then from a modeling point of view. Various types of experimental tumor models which have been used in animals to represent human tumors are discussed. Then, mathematical models of extravascular transport are discussed from the prespective of two approaches: compartmental and distributed. Compartmental models lump one or more sections of a tissue or body into a "compartment" to describe the time course of disposition of a substance. These models contain "effective" parameters which represent the entire compartment. Distributed models consider the structural and morphological aspects of the tissue to determine the transport properties of that tissue. These distributed models describe both the temporal and spatial distribution of a substance in tissues. Each of these modeling techniques is described in detail with applications for cancer detection and treatment in mind.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biological Transport
  • Capillary Permeability
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Histological Techniques
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Medical Oncology / instrumentation
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Cardiovascular
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology


  • Antineoplastic Agents