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99mTc-radiolabeled composites enabling in vivo imaging of arterial dispersal and retention of microspheres in the vascular network of rabbit lungs, liver, and liver tumors

Authors Stephens RW, Tredwell GD, Knox KJ, Philip LA, King DW, Debono KM, Bell JL, Senden TJ, Tanudji MR, Winter JG, Bickley SA, Tapner MJ, Jones SK

Received 11 September 2018

Accepted for publication 10 November 2018

Published 31 January 2019 Volume 2019:14 Pages 889—900

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S187153

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Govarthanan Muthusamy

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas J Webster


Ross W Stephens,1 Gregory D Tredwell,1 Karen J Knox,1 Lee A Philip,1 David W King,1 Kelly M Debono,2 Jessica L Bell,1 Tim J Senden,1 Marcel R Tanudji,3 Jillean G Winter,3 Stephanie A Bickley,3 Michael J Tapner,3 Stephen K Jones3

1The Biomedical Radiochemistry Laboratory, Department of Applied Mathematics, Research School of Physics and Engineering, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia; 2Animal Services Division, Research School of Biology, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia; 3Research and Development, Sirtex Medical Limited, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Purpose: Selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT) is an effective treatment option for liver tumors, using Y-90-loaded polymer microspheres that are delivered via catheterization of the hepatic artery. Since Y-90 is a beta emitter and not conveniently imaged by standard clinical instrumentation, dosimetry is currently evaluated in each patient using a surrogate particle, 99mTechnetium-labeled macroaggregated albumin (99mTc-MAA). We report a new composite consisting of 99mTc-labeled nanoparticles attached to the same polymer microspheres as used for SIRT, which can be imaged with standard SPECT.
Methods: Carbon nanoparticles with an encapsulated core of 99mTc were coated with the polycation protamine sulfate to provide electrostatic attachment to anionic polystyrene sulfonate microspheres of different sizes (30, 12, and 8 µm). The in vivo stability of these composites was determined via intravenous injection and entrapment in the capillary network of normal rabbit lungs for up to 3 hours. Furthermore, we evaluated their biodistribution in normal rabbit livers, and livers implanted with VX2 tumors, following intrahepatic artery instillation.
Results: We report distribution tests for three different sizes of radiolabeled microspheres and compare the results with those obtained using 99mTc-MAA. Lung retention of the radiolabeled microspheres ranged from 72.8% to 92.9%, with the smaller diameter microspheres showing the lowest retention. Liver retention of the microspheres was higher, with retention in normal livers ranging from 99.2% to 99.8%, and in livers with VX2 tumors from 98.2% to 99.2%. The radiolabeled microspheres clearly demonstrated preferential uptake at tumor sites due to the increased arterial perfusion produced by angiogenesis.
Conclusion: We describe a novel use of radiolabeled carbon nanoparticles to generate an imageable microsphere that is stable in vivo under the shear stress conditions of arterial networks. Following intra-arterial instillation in the normal rabbit liver, they distribute in a distinct segmented pattern, with the smaller microspheres extending throughout the organ in finer detail, while still being well retained within the liver. Furthermore, in livers hosting an implanted VX2 tumor, they reveal the increased arterial perfusion of tumor tissue resulting from angiogenesis. These novel composites may have potential as a more representative mimic of the vascular distribution of therapeutic microspheres in patients undergoing SIRT.

Keywords: liver cancer, SIRT, radiolabeled microspheres, medical imaging


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