Poly(lactide-co-glycolide) microspheres for MRI-monitored transcatheter delivery of sorafenib to liver tumors

Jeane Chen, Alexander Y. Sheu, Weiguo Li, Zhuoli Zhang, Dong Hyun Kim, Robert J. Lewandowski, Reed A. Omary, Lonnie D. Shea, Andrew C. Larson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The multi-kinase inhibitor (MKI) sorafenib can be an effective palliative therapy for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, patient tolerance is often poor due to common systemic side effects following oral administration. Local transcatheter delivery of sorafenib to liver tumors has the potential to reduce systemic toxicities while increasing the dose delivered to targeted tumors. We developed sorafenib-eluting PLG microspheres for delivery by intra-hepatic transcatheter infusion in an orthotropic rodent HCC model. The particles also encapsulated iron-oxide nanoparticles permitting magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of intra-hepatic biodistributions. The PLG microspheres (diameter ≈1 μm) were loaded with 18.6% (w/w) sorafenib and 0.54% (w/w) ferrofluid and 65.2% of the sorafenib was released within 72 h of media exposure. In vitro studies demonstrated significant reductions in HCC cell proliferation with increasing doses of the sorafenib-eluting microspheres, where the estimated IC50 was a 29 μg/mL dose of microspheres. During in vivo studies, MRI permitted intra-procedural visualization of intra-hepatic microsphere delivery. At 72 h after microsphere infusion, microvessel density was significantly reduced in tumors treated with the sorafenib-eluting microspheres compared to both sham control tumors (by 35%) and controls (by 30%). These PLG microspheres offer the potential to increase the efficacy of molecularly targeted MKI therapies while reducing systemic exposures via selective catheter-directed delivery to HCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-17
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 28 2014


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science

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