Feasibility of eradication of breast cancer cells remaining in postlumpectomy cavity and draining lymph nodes following intracavitary injection of radioactive immunoliposomes

Shihong Li, Beth Goins, Brian A. Hrycushko, William T. Phillips, Ande Bao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Most diagnosed early stage breast cancer cases are treated by lumpectomy and adjuvant radiation therapy, which significantly decreases the locoregional recurrence but causes inevitable toxicity to normal tissue. By using a technique of preparing liposomes carrying technetium-99m (99mTc), rhenium-186 (186Re), or rhenium-188 (188Re) radionuclides, as well as chemotherapeutic agents, or their combination, for cancer therapy with real time image-monitoring of pharmacokinetics and prediction of therapy effect, this study investigated the potential of a novel targeted focal radiotherapy with low systemic toxicity using radioactive immunoliposomes to treat both the surgical cavity and draining lymph nodes in a rat breast cancer xenograft positive surgical margin model. Immunoliposomes modified with either panitumumab (anti-EGFR) or bevacizumab (anti-VEGF) were remote loaded with 99mTc diagnostic radionuclide, and injected into the surgical cavity of female nude rats with positive margins postlumpectomy. Locoregional retention and systemic distribution of 99mTc-immunoliposomes were investigated by nuclear imaging, stereofluorescent microscopic imaging, and gamma counting. Histopathological examination of excised draining lymph nodes was performed. The locoregional retention of 99mTc-immunoliposomes in each animal was influenced by the physiological characteristics of the surgical site of individual animals. Panitumumab- and bevacizumab-liposome groups had higher intracavitary retention compared with the control liposome groups. Draining lymph node uptake was influenced by both the intracavitary radioactivity retention level and metastasis status. The panitumumab-liposome group had higher accumulation on the residual tumor surface and in the metastatic lymph nodes. Radioactive liposomes that were cleared from the cavity were metabolized quickly and accumulated at low levels in vital organs. Therapeutic radionuclide- carrying specifically targeted panitumumab- and bevacizumab-liposomes have increased potential compared to non-antibody targeted liposomes for postlumpectomy focal therapy to eradicate remaining breast cancer cells inside the cavity and draining lymph nodes with low systemic toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2513-2522
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 4 2012


  • breast cancer
  • immunoliposomes
  • intracavitary injection
  • metastasis
  • targeted therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery


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