PEGylated polylysine dendrimers increase lymphatic exposure to doxorubicin when compared to PEGylated liposomal and solution formulations of doxorubicin

Gemma Ryan, Lisa Michelle Kaminskas, Jurgen Bernd Bulitta, Michelle Paula McIntosh, David J Owen, Christopher John Porter

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63 Citations (Scopus)


Improved delivery of chemotherapeutic drugs to the lymphatic system has the potential to augment outcomes for cancer therapy by enhancing activity against lymph node metastases. Uptake of small molecule chemotherapeutics into the lymphatic system, however, is limited. Nano-sized drug carriers have the potential to promote access to the lymphatics, but to this point, this has not been examined in detail. The current study therefore evaluated the lymphatic exposure of doxorubicin after subcutaneous and intravenous administration as a simple solution formulation or when formulated as a doxorubicin loaded PEGylated poly-lysine dendrimer (hydrodynamic diameter 12nm), a PEGylated liposome (100nm) and various pluronic micellar formulations ( 5nm) to thoracic lymph duct cannulated rats. Plasma and lymph pharmacokinetics were analysed by compartmental pharmacokinetic modelling in S-ADAPT, and Berkeley Madonna software was used to predict the lymphatic exposure of doxorubicin over an extended period of time. The micelle formulations displayed poor in vivo stability, resulting in doxorubicin profiles that were similar to that observed after administration of the doxorubicin solution formulation. In contrast, the dendrimer formulation significantly increased the recovery of doxorubicin in the thoracic lymph after both intravenous and subcutaneous dosing when compared to the solution or micellar formulation. Dendrimer-doxorubicin also resulted in increases in lymphatic doxorubicin concentrations when compared to the liposome formulation, although liposomal doxorubicin did increase lymphatic transport when compared to the solution formulation. Specifically, the dendrimer formulation increased the recovery of doxorubicin in the lymph up to 30h post dose by up to 685 fold and 3.7 fold when compared to the solution and liposomal formulations respectively. Using the compartmental model to predict lymphatic exposure to longer time periods suggested that doxorubicin exposure to the lymphatic system would ultimately be 9796 times and 6.1 times greater after administration of dendrimer doxorubicin when compared to the solution and liposome formulations respectively. The recovery of doxorubicin in the sentinel lymph nodes draining the subcutaneous injection site was also quantified directly, and consistent with the lymph pharmacokinetic data, lymph node recovery was greatest for the dendrimer formulation (12 of dosed doxorubicin/g node) when compared to the liposome (1.4 /g node) and solution (
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128 - 136
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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