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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1994 Jul 1;29(4):827-34.

Hyperthermia induces doxorubicin release from long-circulating liposomes and enhances their anti-tumor efficacy.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA 94305-5468.



To examine the possibility that hyperthermia would accelerate drug release from long-circulating liposomes, and enhance their antitumor activity.


Liposomes were prepared by thin film hydration technique. Hyperthermia was induced by ultrasound apparatus and a water bath heating system. The antitumor efficacy of treatment against RIF-1 tumor in C3H mice was evaluated by the tumor growth delay assay.


In vitro drug release experiments demonstrated that increase in temperature from 37 degrees C to 41 degrees C resulted in about a sixfold increase in doxorubicin (DOX) release in a 1-h period. Increasing the temperature to 43 degrees C, resulted in only a modest additional drug release. Drug uptake studies showed that local hyperthermic treatment immediately following the drug administration dramatically enhanced Stealth liposome-encapsulated doxorubicin (S-DOX) uptake by tumors, but did not do so for free DOX. At 42 degrees C and at a dose of 10 mg/kg, the accumulation of S-DOX was about 10-fold and 2.5-fold higher than that with free drug and S-DOX at 37 degrees C, respectively. The antitumor efficacy study confirmed our hypothesis that the addition of hyperthermia to the treatment of RIF-1 tumors with doxorubicin encapsulated in long-circulating liposomes would enhance antitumor effects. Two hyperthermia treatments given at 24-h intervals appeared to be the most promising method of combining heat and long-circulating liposomes. The increased antitumor activity was not accompanied by increased toxicity, as determined by the body weight of the mice.


Local hyperthermic treatment is able to accelerate DOX release from long-circulating liposomes, increase tumor uptake, and enhance their antitumor efficacy. The combination of local hyperthermia and long-circulating liposomes appears to show considerable promise in the treatment of localized diseases.

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