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BACKGROUND: Oncolytic viruses are among the most powerful and selective cancer therapeutics under development and are showing robust activity in clinical trials, particularly when administered directly into tumor nodules. However, their intravenous administration to treat metastatic disease has been stymied by unfavorable pharmacokinetics and inefficient accumulation in and penetration through tumors. METHODS: Adenovirus (Ad) was "stealthed" with a new N-(2-hydroxypropyl)methacrylamide polymer, and circulation kinetics were characterized in Balb/C SCID mice (n = 8 per group) bearing human ZR-75-1 xenograft tumors. Then, to noninvasively increase extravasation of the circulating polymer-coated Ad into the tumor, it was coinjected with gas microbubbles and the tumor was exposed to 0.5 MHz focused ultrasound at peak rarefactional pressure of 1.2 MPa. These ultrasound exposure conditions were designed to trigger inertial cavitation, an acoustic phenomenon that produces shock waves and can be remotely monitored in real-time. Groups were compared with Student t test or one-way analysis of variance with Tukey correction where groups were greater than two. All statistical tests were two-sided. RESULTS: Polymer-coating of Ad reduced hepatic sequestration, infection (>8000-fold; P < .001), and toxicity and improved circulation half-life (>50-fold; P = .001). Combination of polymer-coated Ad, gas bubbles, and focused ultrasound enhanced tumor infection >30-fold; (4 × 10(6) photons/sec/cm(2); standard deviation = 3 × 10(6) with ultrasound vs 1.3 × 10(5); standard deviation = 1 × 10(5) without ultrasound; P = .03) and penetration, enabling kill of cells more than 100 microns from the nearest blood vessel. This led to substantial and statistically significant retardation of tumor growth and increased survival. CONCLUSIONS: Combining drug stealthing and ultrasound-induced cavitation may ultimately enhance the efficacy of a range of powerful therapeutics, thereby improving the treatment of metastatic cancer.

Original publication




Journal article


J Natl Cancer Inst

Publication Date





1701 - 1710


Acrylamides, Adenoviridae, Adjuvants, Pharmaceutic, Analysis of Variance, Animals, Breast Neoplasms, Combined Modality Therapy, Female, Humans, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, SCID, Microbubbles, Oncolytic Virotherapy, Oncolytic Viruses, Pharmaceutical Vehicles, Ultrasonic Therapy, Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays