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November 1994

Polymer Delivery of Chemotherapy for Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md (Drs Shikani and Eisele); and the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, The David Bloom Center for Pharmacy—Faculty of Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel) (Dr Domb).

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1994;120(11):1242-1247. doi:10.1001/archotol.1994.01880350050009

Background:  The role of chemotherapy for the treatment of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck is limited by the systemic toxicity of chemotherapeutic agents. An attractive alternative is the controlled and sustained release of anticancer agents from a resorbable polymer delivery system that is implanted next to the tumor. The advantages are a high locoregional drug concentration with low systemic levels and a delivery system that is not limited by poor blood supply caused by previous radiation therapy or surgery.

Methods/Subjects:  The polymer used in this study was a biodegradable polyanhydride made up of fatty acid dimer and sebacic acid, Poly (FAD-SA), loaded with cisplatin. The tumor animal model was the nude mouse carrying human floor of mouth squamous cell carcinoma xenografts. Polymer-cisplatin pharmacokinetics and the effect of polymer delivery of cisplatin (5% and 7% drug/polymer at a weight/weight load) on tumor growth rates were evaluated.

Main Result:  Thirty-five days after implantation of the polymer, the mean treated tumor size was 65.5% of controls in the 5% group and 31.8% in the 7% group. Seventy days after implantation, the mean treated tumor size was 41.4% of controls in the 5% group and 38.1% in the 7% group, indicating a statistically significant delay of tumor growth compared with controls or with intraperitoneally injected cisplatin.

Conclusion:  This study demonstrates that continuous release of cisplatin directly at the tumor site, using an implantable polymer, is effective against human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma xenografts in nude mice.(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1994;120:1242-1247)

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