Trimodal Therapy: Combining Hyperthermia with Repurposed Bexarotene and Ultrasound for Treating Liver Cancer

Santosh K. Misra, Goutam Ghoshal, Manas R. Gartia, Zhe Wu, Arun K. De, Mao Ye, Corinne R. Bromfield, Emery M. Williams, Kuldeep Singh, Krishnarao V. Tangella, Laurie Rund, Klaus Schulten, Lawrence B. Schook, Partha S. Ray, Everette C. Burdette, Dipanjan Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Repurposing of existing cancer drugs to overcome their physical limitations, such as insolubility, represents an attractive strategy to achieve enhanced therapeutic efficacy and broaden the range of clinical applications. Such an approach also promises to offer substantial cost savings in drug development efforts. Here we repurposed FDA-approved topical agent bexarotene (Targretin), currently in limited use for cutaneous manifestations of T-cell lymphomas, and re-engineer it for use in solid tumor applications by forming self-assembling nanobubbles. Physico-chemical characterization studies of the novel prodrug nanobubbles demonstrated their stability, enhanced target cell internalization capability, and highly controlled release profile in response to application of focused ultrasound energy. Using an in vitro model of hepatocellular carcinoma and an in vivo large animal model of liver ablation, we demonstrate the effectiveness of bexarotene prodrug nanobubbles when used in conjunction with catheter-based ultrasound, thereby highlighting the therapeutic promise of this trimodal approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10695-10718
Number of pages24
JournalACS Nano
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 24 2015


  • anticancer prodrug nanobubble
  • drug repurposing
  • liver cancer
  • thermal ablation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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