Ultrasound-stimulated drug delivery for treatment of residual disease after incomplete resection of head and neck cancer

Anna G. Sorace, Melissa Korb, Jason M. Warram, Heidi Umphrey, Kurt R. Zinn, Eben Rosenthal, Kenneth Hoyt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Microbubbles triggered with localized ultrasound (US) can improve tumor drug delivery and retention. Termed US-stimulated drug delivery, this strategy was applied to head and neck cancer (HNC) in a post-surgical tumor resection model. Luciferase-positive HNC squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) was implanted in the flanks of nude athymic mice (N=24) that underwent various degrees of surgical tumor resection (0%, 50% or 100%). After surgery, animals received adjuvant therapy with cetuximab-IRDye alone, or cetuximab-IRDye in combination with US-stimulated drug delivery or saline injections (control) on days 4, 7 and 10. Tumor drug delivery was assessed on days 0, 4, 7, 10, 14 and 17 with an invivo fluorescence imaging system, and tumor viability was evaluated at the same times with invivo bioluminescence imaging. Tumor caliper measurements occurred two times per week for 24d. Optical imaging revealed that in the 50% tumor resection group, US-stimulated drug delivery resulted in a significant increase in cetuximab delivery compared with administration of drug alone on day 10 (day of peak fluorescence) (p=0.03). Tumor viability decreased in all groups that received cetuximab-IRDye in combination with US-stimulated drug delivery, compared with the group that received only the drug. After various degrees of surgical resection, this novel study reports positive improvements in drug uptake in the residual cancer cells when drug delivery is stimulated with US.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)755-764
Number of pages10
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Adjuvant therapy
  • Cetuximab
  • Drug delivery
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Microbubbles
  • Optical imaging
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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