Pharmacokinetics and Early Tumor Response to Conventional Transarterial Chemoembolization with Sorafenib and Doxorubicin in a VX2 Rabbit Tumor Model

Lobna Elkhadragy, Ramzy C. Khabbaz, Ruth N. Muchiri, William M. Totura, Jonathan P. Samuelson, Herbert E. Whiteley, Richard B. van Breemen, R. Peter Lokken, Ron C. Gaba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To investigate the pharmacokinetics (PK) and early effects of conventional transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) using sorafenib and doxorubicin on tumor necrosis, hypoxia markers, and angiogenesis in a rabbit VX2 liver tumor model. Materials and Methods: VX2 tumor-laden New Zealand White rabbits (N = 16) were divided into 2 groups: 1 group was treated with hepatic arterial administration of ethiodized oil and doxorubicin emulsion (DOX-TACE), and the other group was treated with ethiodized oil, sorafenib, and doxorubicin emulsion (SORA-DOX-TACE). Animals were killed within 3 days of the procedure. Levels of sorafenib and doxorubicin were measured in blood, tumor, and adjacent liver using mass spectrometry. Tumor necrosis was determined by histopathological examination. Intratumoral hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) 1α, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and microvessel density (MVD) were determined by immunohistochemistry. Results: The median intratumoral concentration of sorafenib in the SORA-DOX-TACE group was 17.7 μg/mL (interquartile range [IQR], 7.42–33.5 μg/mL), and its maximal plasma concentration (Cmax) was 0.164 μg/mL (IQR, 0.0798–0.528 μg/mL). The intratumoral concentration and Cmax of doxorubicin were similar between the groups: 4.08 μg/mL (IQR, 3.18–4.79 μg/mL) and 0.677 μg/mL (IQR, 0.315–1.23 μg/mL), respectively, in the DOX-TACE group and 1.68 μg/mL (IQR, 0.795–4.08 μg/mL) and 0.298 μg/mL (IQR, 0.241–0.64 μg/mL), respectively, in the SORA-DOX-TACE group. HIF-1α expression was increased in the SORA-DOX-TACE group than in the DOX-TACE group. Tumor volume, tumor necrosis, VEGF expression, and MVD were similar between the 2 groups. Conclusions: The addition of sorafenib to DOX-TACE delivered to VX2 liver tumors resulted in high intratumoral and low systemic concentrations of sorafenib without altering the PK of doxorubicin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1213-1221.e5
JournalJournal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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