Ultrasound-induced blood-brain barrier disruption for the treatment of gliomas and other primary CNS tumors

Kévin Beccaria*, Michael Canney, Guillaume Bouchoux, Carole Desseaux, Jacques Grill, Amy B. Heimberger, Alexandre Carpentier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The treatment of primary brain tumors, especially malignant gliomas, remains challenging. The failure of most treatments for this disease is partially explained by the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which prevents circulating molecules from entering the brain parenchyma. Ultrasound-induced BBB disruption (US-BBBD) has recently emerged as a promising strategy to improve the delivery of therapeutic agents to brain tumors. A large body of preclinical studies has demonstrated that the association of low-intensity pulsed ultrasound with intravenous microbubbles can transiently open the BBB in a localized manner. The safety of this technique has been assessed in numerous preclinical studies in both small and large animal models. A large panel of therapeutic agents have been delivered to the brain in preclinical models, demonstrating both tumor control and increased survival. This technique has recently entered clinical trials with encouraging preliminary data. In this review, we describe the mechanisms and histological effects of US-BBBD and summarize the preclinical studies published to date. We furthermore provide an overview of the current clinical development and future potential of this promising technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Letters
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Brain tumors
  • Glioblastoma
  • Low-intensity pulsed ultrasound
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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