Ultrasound-induced mild hyperthermia improves the anticancer efficacy of both Taxol® and paclitaxel-loaded nanocapsules

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We study the influence of ultrasound on paclitaxel-loaded nanocapsules in vitro and in vivo. These nanocapsules possess a shell of poly(dl-lactide-co-glycolide)-poly(ethylene glycol) (PLGA-PEG) and a liquid core of perfluorooctyl bromide (PFOB). In vitro experiments show that mechanical effects such as cavitation are negligible for nanocapsules due to their small size and thick and rigid shell. As the mechanical effects were unable to increase paclitaxel delivery, we focused on the thermal effects of ultrasound in the in vivo studies. A focused ultrasound sequence was therefore optimized in vivo under magnetic resonance imaging guidance to obtain localized mild hyperthermia with high acoustic pressure. Ultrasound-induced mild hyperthermia (41–43 °C) was then tested in vivo in a subcutaneous CT-26 colon cancer murine model. As hyperthermia is applied, an inhibition of tumor growth for both paclitaxel-loaded nanocapsules and the commercial formulation of paclitaxel, namely Taxol® have been observed (p < 0.05). Ultrasound-induced mild hyperthermia at high acoustic pressure appears as an interesting strategy to enhance cytotoxic efficacy locally.Graphical abstract

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