Glioblastoma multiforme tumors typically exhibit regions of hypoxia. Hypoxic regions within the tumor make cells less sensitive to radiosurgery and radiation therapy. Trans sodium crocetinate (TSC) has been shown to be a radiosensitizer. The goal of this research was to elucidate the underlying mechanism of TSC's radiosensitizing effect.
A rat C6 glioma model was used. The C6 glioma cells were stereotactically injected into the rat brain to create a tumor. Two weeks later, MR imaging was used to confirm the presence of a glioma. Following demonstration on MR imaging of a brain tumor, animals were randomized into 1 of 2 groups: 1) TSC alone (100 μg/kg), or 2) saline control. Licox probes were inserted into the brain tumor and contralateral cerebral hemisphere. Tissue oxygenation measurements were recorded before and after intravenous infusion of either TSC or saline.
Not surprisingly, tissue oxygenation measurements revealed that the brain tumor was hypoxic relative to the contralateral cerebral hemisphere brain tissue. Two to 8 minutes after TSC was infused, tissue oxygenation measurements in the brain tumor increased above baseline by as much as 60%. After this temporary elevation following TSC infusion, tumor oxygenation measurements returned to baseline. No significant elevations in tissue oxygenation were seen on the contralateral side. Similarly, the saline vehicle was not observed to increase tissue oxygenation in either the brain tumor or the contralateral brain tissue.
Administration of TSC transiently improves tissue oxygenation in hypoxic gliomas. Such an effect is one potential mechanism for the radiosensitization previously observed after addition of TSC.