Removal of interstitial hyaluronan with recombinant human hyaluronidase improves the systemic and lymphatic uptake of cetuximab in rats

Ian K. Styles, Orlagh M. Feeney, Tri-Hung Nguyen, Daniel Brundel, David W. Kang, Renee Clift, Michelle P. McIntosh, Christopher J.H. Porter

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Interstitial, e.g. subcutaneous (SC) or intradermal (ID), administration of monoclonal antibodies (mAb) is less invasive than intravenous administration and leads to mAb uptake into both lymphatic and blood capillaries draining the injection site. Interstitial administration, however, is hindered by the presence of hyaluronan (HA), a glycosaminoglycan that is a major fluid barrier in the interstitial space. The transient removal of HA with recombinant human hyaluronidase (rHuPH20) helps facilitate the interstitial administration of often high therapeutic doses of mAb in the clinic. rHuPH20’s impact on the systemic pharmacokinetics of several mAbs has been previously described, however effects on route of absorption (lymph vs blood) are unknown. The current study has therefore explored the lymphatic transport and bioavailability of cetuximab and trastuzumab after SC and ID coadministration in the presence and absence of rHuPH20 in rats. After SC administration cetuximab absolute bioavailability increased from 67 % to 80 % in the presence of rHuPH20. Cetuximab recovery in the lymphatics also increased after SC (35.8 % to 49.4 %) and ID (26.7 % to 58.8 %) administration in the presence of rHuPH20. When the injection volume (and therefore dose) was increased 10-fold in the presence of rHuPH20 cetuximab plasma exposure increased approximately linearly (12- and 8.9-fold respectively after SC and ID administration), although the proportional contribution of cetuximab lymphatic transport reduced slightly (6.2-fold increase for both administration routes). In contrast, co-administration with rHuPH20 did not lead to increases in plasma exposure for trastuzumab after SC or ID administration, most likely reflecting the fact that the reported absolute bioavailability of trastuzumab (in the absence of rHuPH20) is high (∼77–99 %). However, lymphatic transport of trastuzumab did increase when coadministered ID with rHuPH20 in spite of the lack of change to overall bioavailability. The data suggest that co-administration with rHuPH20 is able to increase the volume of mAb that can be administered interstitially, and in some instances can increase the amount absorbed into both the blood and the lymph. In the current studies the ability of rHuPH20 to enhance interstitial bioavailability was higher for cetuximab where intrinsic interstitial bioavailability was low, when compared to trastuzumab where interstitial bioavailability was high.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-96
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2019


  • Hyaluronan
  • Hyaluronidase
  • Interstitial administration
  • Lymphatic
  • Monoclonal antibody
  • Pharmacokinetics

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