Poly(lactide-co-glycolide) microspheres for MRI-monitored delivery of sorafenib in a rabbit VX2 model

Jeane Chen, Sarah B. White, Kathleen R. Harris, Weiguo Li, Jonathan W.T. Yap, Dong-Hyun Kim, Robert J Lewandowski, Lonnie D. Shea, Andrew Christian Larson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Transcatheter arterial embolization and chemoembolization are standard locoregional therapies for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, these can result in tumor hypoxia, thus promoting tumor angiogenesis. The anti-angiogenic agent sorafenib is hypothesized to improve outcomes; however, oral administration limits patient tolerance. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to fabricate poly(lactide-. co-glycolide) microspheres for local sorafenib delivery to tumors during liver-directed embolotherapies. Iron oxide nanoparticles (IONP) were co-encapsulated for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of microsphere delivery. Microspheres were fabricated using a double emulsion/solvent evaporation method and characterized for size, sorafenib and IONP content, and MRI properties. MRI was performed before and after intra-arterial microsphere infusions in a rabbit VX2 liver tumor model. The microspheres were 13 microns in diameter with 8.8% and 0.89% (w/w) sorafenib and IONP, respectively. 21% and 28% of the loaded sorafenib and IONP, respectively, released within 72 h. Rabbit VX2 studies demonstrated that sorafenib microspheres normalized VEGFR 2 activity and decreased microvessel density. Quantitative MRI enabled in vivo visualization of intra-hepatic microsphere distributions. These methods should avoid systemic toxicities, with MRI permitting follow-up confirmation of microsphere delivery to the targeted liver tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-306
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Poly(lactide-co-glycolide)
  • Sorafenib

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Bioengineering
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials


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