Development of a combination drug-eluting bead: towards enhanced efficacy for locoregional tumour therapies

Richard Forster, Tang Yiqing, Cressida Bowyer, Andrew Lloyd, Wendy Macfarlane, Gary Phillips, Andrew Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drug-eluting beads (DEBs) are becoming a mainstay locoregional therapy for hepatic malignancies but are currently loaded with single drugs alone. Here, we wished to prepare DEB containing different drug combinations, to screen their efficacy using an in-vitro cell culture assay and to include any promising combinations that demonstrate additive efficacy in an in-vivo model of locoregional tumour treatment. A modified in-vitro assay was used based upon the use of 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium, inner salt (MTS) with either HepG2 liver cancer or PSN1 pancreatic cancer cell lines. The comparative cytotoxicity of DEB combinations prepared containing doxorubicin, irinotecan, topotecan and rapamycin was evaluated. Those combinations that demonstrated an additive cytotoxicity effect were investigated in vivo using a nude mouse xenograft model of pancreatic cancer. Although many of the DEB combinations showed either no effect or a slight antagonistic effect, the combination of doxorubicin and rapamycin DEBs demonstrated synergistic activity. On the basis of these findings, a method was developed to prepare a doxorubicin/rapamycin dual-loaded DEB, which was shown to possess the same drug-loading capacities, drug elution properties and HepG2 cell cytotoxicity synergy as the single drug-loaded DEB combination. Evaluation of this dual-loaded combination DEB versus the respective single drug-loaded DEBs in a mouse xenograft model of pancreatic cancer showed an equivalent tumour volume reduction as the doxorubicin DEB, but with less toxicity than the rapamycin DEB. The doxorubicin/rapamycin combination DEB offers great potential for enhanced efficacy in the locoregional treatment of malignant tumours.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-369
Number of pages15
JournalAnti-Cancer Drugs
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2012


  • chemotherapeutic drug combinations
  • drug-eluting beads
  • liver cancer
  • locoregional therapy
  • pancreatic cancer


Dive into the research topics of 'Development of a combination drug-eluting bead: towards enhanced efficacy for locoregional tumour therapies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this