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Semin Oncol. 2004 Apr;31(2 Suppl 6):18-23.

Increasing tumor uptake of anticancer drugs with imatinib.

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University of California at San Francisco, Diabetes Center, 94143, USA.


Solid malignancies often exhibit high interstitial fluid pressure (IFP), which causes poor uptake of anticancer drugs. While there are several mechanisms that regulate IFP in tumors, activation of platelet-derived growth factor receptor, which is expressed in various cell types within the tumor microenvironment, has been observed to play an important role in elevating IFP. In preclinical studies, treatment with imatinib, which inhibits both alpha- and beta-platelet-derived growth factor receptors, as well as KIT, ABL, ARG, and BCR-ABL tyrosine kinases, has been shown to decrease tumor IFP and concomitantly augment uptake of chemotherapeutic drugs, thereby enhancing the efficacy of chemotherapy. This review discusses preclinical studies showing the ability of imatinib to lower IFP and increase drug uptake within solid tumors, as well as the scientific rationale for clinical use of imatinib as combination therapy for chemotherapy.

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