Comparison of DC Bead-irinotecan and DC Bead-topotecan drug eluting beads for use in locoregional drug delivery to treat pancreatic cancer

R.E.J. Forster, S.A. Small, Y. Tang, C.L. Heaysman, Andrew Lloyd, Wendy Macfarlane, Gary Phillips, M.D. Antonijevic, A.L. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


DC Bead® is a drug delivery embolisation system that can be loaded with doxorubicin or irinotecan for the treatment of a variety of liver cancers. In this study we demonstrate that the topoisomerase I inhibitor topotecan hydrochloride can be successfully loaded into the DC Bead sulfonate-modified polyvinyl alcohol hydrogel matrix, resulting in a sustained-release drug eluting bead (DEBTOP) useful for therapeutic purposes. The in vitro drug loading capacity, elution characteristics and the effects on mechanical properties of the beads are described with reference to our previous work with irinotecan hydrochloride (DEBIRI). Results showed that drug loading was faster when the solution was agitated compared to static loading and a maximum loading of ca. 40–45 mg topotecan in 1 ml hydrated beads was achievable. Loading the drug into the beads altered the size, compressibility moduli and colour of the bead. Elution was shown to be reliant on the presence of ions to perform the necessary exchange with the electrostatically bound topotecan molecules. Topotecan was shown by MTS assay to have an IC50 for human pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells (PSN-1) of 0.22 and 0.27 μM compared to 28.1 and 19.2 μM for irinotecan at 48 and 72 h, respectively. The cytotoxic efficacy of DEBTOP on PSN-1 was compared to DEBIRI. DEPTOP loaded at 6 and 30 mg ml−1, like its free drug form, was shown to be more potent than DEBIRI of comparable doses at 24, 48 and 72 h using a slightly modified MTS assay. Using a PSN-1 mouse xenograft model, DEBIRI doses of 3.3–6.6 mg were shown to be well-tolerated (even with repeat administration) and effective in reducing the tumour size. DEBTOP however, was lethal after 6 days at doses of 0.83–1.2 mg but demonstrated reasonable efficacy and tolerability (again with repeat injection possible) at 0.2–0.4 mg doses. Care must therefore be taken when selecting the dose of topotecan to be loaded into DC Bead given its greater potency and potential toxicity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2683-2690
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2010

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© The Author(s) 2010. This article is published with open access at


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