An ultrasound responsive microbubble-liposome conjugate for targeted irinotecan-oxaliplatin treatment of pancreatic cancer

Jinhui Gao, Heather Nesbitt, Kieran Logan, Kathryn Burnett, Bronagh White, Iain Jack, Mark A Taylor, Mark Love, Bridgeen Callan, Anthony P. McHale, J Callan

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27 Citations (Scopus)
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Survival rates in pancreatic cancer have remained largely unchanged over the past four decades with less than 5% of patients surviving five years following initial diagnosis. FOLFIRINOX chemotherapy, a combination of folinic acid, 5-fluoruracil, irinotecan and oxaliplatin, has shown the greatest survival benefit for patients with advanced disease but is only indicated for those with good physical performance status due to its extreme off-target toxicity. Ultrasound targeted microbubble destruction (UTMD) has emerged as an effective strategy for the targeted delivery of drug payloads to solid tumours and involves using low intensity ultrasound to disrupt (burst) MBs in the tumour vasculature, releasing encapsulated or attached drugs in a targeted manner. In this manuscript, we describe the preparation of a microbubble-liposome complex (IRMB-OxLipo) carrying two of the three cytotoxic drugs present in the FOLFIRINOX combination, namely irinotecan and oxaliplatin. Efficacy of the IRMB-OxLipo complex following UTMD was determined in Panc-01 3D spheroid and BxPC-3 human xenograft murine models of pancreatic cancer. The results revealed that tumours treated with the IRMB-OxLipo complex and ultrasound were 136% smaller than tumours treated with the same concentration of irinotecan/oxaliplatin but delivered in a conventional manner, i.e. as a non-complexed mixture. This suggests that UTMD facilitates a more effective delivery of irinotecan/oxaliplatin improving the overall effectiveness of this drug combination and to the best of our knowledge, is the first reported example of a microbubble-liposome complex used to deliver these two chemotherapies. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-240
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics
Early online date24 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
JFC thanks Norbrook Laboratories Ltd for an endowed chair.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Irinotecan
  • Liposome
  • Microbubble
  • Oxaliplatin
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Ultrasound


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