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  • Author or Editor: Justin Caplan x
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Betty M. Tyler, Alia Hdeib, Justin Caplan, Federico G. Legnani, Kirk D. Fowers, Henry Brem, George Jallo and Gustavo Pradilla

Object

Treatment options for anaplastic or malignant intramedullary spinal cord tumors (IMSCTs) remain limited. Paclitaxel has potent cytotoxicity against experimental intracranial gliomas and could be beneficial in the treatment of IMSCTs, but poor CNS penetration and significant toxicity limit its use. Such limitations could be overcome with local intratumoral delivery. Paclitaxel has been previously incorporated into a biodegradable gel depot delivery system (OncoGel) and in this study the authors evaluated the safety of intramedullary injections of OncoGel in rats and its efficacy against an intramedullary rat gliosarcoma.

Methods

Safety of intramedullary OncoGel was tested in 12 Fischer-344 rats using OncoGel concentrations of 1.5 and 6.0 mg/ml (5 μl); median survival and functional motor scores (Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan [BBB] scale) were compared with those obtained with placebo (ReGel) and medium-only injections. Efficacy of OncoGel was tested in 61 Fischer-344 rats implanted with an intramedullary injection of 9L gliosarcoma containing 100,000 cells in 5 μl of medium, and randomized to receive OncoGel administered on the same day (in 32 rats) or 5 days after tumor implantation (in 29 rats) using either 1.5 mg/ml or 3.0 mg/ml doses of paclitaxel. Median survival and BBB scores were compared with those of ReGel-treated and tumor-only rats. Animals were killed after the onset of deficits for histopathological analysis.

Results

OncoGel was safe for intramedullary injection in rats in doses up to 5 μl of 3.0 mg/ml of paclitaxel; a dose of 5 μl of 6.0 mg/ml caused rapid deterioration in BBB scores. OncoGel at concentrations of 1.5 mg/ml and 3.0 mg/ml paclitaxel given on both Day 0 and Day 5 prolonged median survival and preserved BBB scores compared with controls. OncoGel 1.5 mg/ml produced 62.5% long-term survivors when delivered on Day 0. A comparison between the 1.5 mg/ml and the 3.0 mg/ml doses showed higher median survival with the 1.5 mg/ml dose on Day 0, and no differences in median survival or BBB scores after treatment on Day 5.

Conclusions

OncoGel is safe for intramedullary injection in rats in doses up to 5 μl of 3.0 mg/ml, prolongs median survival, and increases functional motor scores in rats challenged with an intramedullary gliosarcoma at the doses tested. This study suggests that locally delivered chemotherapeutic agents could be of temporary benefit in the treatment of malignant IMSCTs under experimental settings.

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Betty Tyler, Kirk D. Fowers, Khan W. Li, Violette Renard Recinos, Justin M. Caplan, Alia Hdeib, Rachel Grossman, Luca Basaldella, Kimon Bekelis, Gustavo Pradilla, Federico Legnani and Henry Brem

Object

Paclitaxel, a cellular proliferation inhibitor/radiation sensitizer, while effective against gliomas in vitro, has poor CNS penetration and dose-limiting toxicities when administered systemically. OncoGel (paclitaxel in Re-Gel) provides controlled local paclitaxel release when placed into the CNS. The authors evaluated the safety and efficacy of OncoGel in rats with intracranial 9L gliosarcoma.

Methods

Safety studies included intracranial delivery of increasing volumes of ReGel and OncoGel containing 1.5 (OncoGel 1.5) or 6.3 (OncoGel 6.3) mg/ml paclitaxel. An in vivo radiolabeled biodistribution study was performed in 18 Fischer-344 rats to determine intracerebral distribution. Efficacy studies compared overall survival for controls, ReGel only, radiation therapy only, OncoGel 6.3, or OncoGel 6.3 in combination with radiation therapy. ReGel and OncoGel 6.3 were delivered either simultaneously with tumor implantation (Day 0) or 5 days later (Day 5). Radiation therapy was given on Day 5.

Results

Control and ReGel animals died of tumor within 17 days. Survival significantly increased in the Onco-Gel 6.3 group on Day 0 (median 31 days; p = 0.0001), in the OncoGel 6.3 group on Day 5 (median 17 days; p = 0.02), and in the radiation therapy–only group (median 26 days; p = 0.0001) compared with controls. Animals receiving both OncoGel and radiation therapy had the longest median survival: 83 days in the group with radiation therapy combined with OncoGel 6.3 on Day 0, and 32 days in the group combined with OncoGel 6.3 on Day 5 (p = 0.0001 vs controls). After 120 days, 37.5% of the animals in the OncoGel Day 0 group, 37.5% of animals in the OncoGel 6.3 Day 0 in combination with radiation therapy group, and 12.5% of the animals in the OncoGel 6.3 on Day 5 in combination with radiation therapy group were alive. In the biodistribution study, measurable radioactivity was observed throughout the ipsilateral hemisphere up to 3 weeks after the OncoGel injection, with the most radioactivity detected 3 hours after injection. The highest dose of radioactivity observed in the contralateral hemisphere was at the Day 3 time point.

Conclusions

OncoGel containing 6.3 mg/ml of paclitaxel is safe for intracranial injection in rats and effective when administered on Day 0. When combined with radiation therapy, the combination was more effective than either therapy alone and should be studied clinically for the treatment of malignant glioma.