Object. The response of brain tumors to systemic chemotherapy is limited by the blood—tumor barrier (BTB). Nitric oxide (NO) has been implicated in the regulation of vascular permeability and blood flow. The authors evaluated the effects of exogenous NO, which was released from a short-acting NO donor (Proli/NO), and those of NO metabolites on the capillary permeability of tumors and normal brain tissue by using quantitative autoradiography in a C6 glioma model in rats.
Methods. The Proli/NO was infused at a wide dose range (10−2 to 10−12 M) either intravenously or into the internal carotid artery (ICA) and demonstrated substantial tumor-selective increases in blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability in response to various-sized tracers ([14C]aminoisobutyric acid, [14C]sucrose, [14C]dextran). Internal carotid artery or intravenous administration of sodium nitrite had a comparable effect on BTB permeability. The NO effect on microvascular permeability could be obtained without causing hemodynamic side effects. The effect of NO on the efficacy of carboplatin chemotherapy was investigated in intracerebral C6 gliomas. Simultaneous intravenous infusions of Proli/NO (10−6 M) and carboplatin (20 mg/kg) led to long-term survival in 40% of rats harboring intracerebral C6 gliomas compared with control animals receiving ICA or intravenous infusions of carboplatin, Proli/NO, or vehicle alone. No residual tumor was demonstrated on histological or magnetic resonance imaging studies performed in rats treated with Proli/NO and carboplatin, and no toxicity was observed.
Conclusions. This new approach demonstrated the in vivo efficacy and safety of NO and nitrite in enhancing the delivery of systemically delivered radiolabeled tracers and carboplatin into rat gliomas. The NO-induced tumor-selective BBB disruption and intravenous carboplatin chemotherapy may be more efficacious than current chemotherapy strategies against brain tumors.