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Br J Cancer. 2009 Apr 21;100(8):1287-91. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605022.

Intra-tumoural extra-cellular pH: a useful parameter of response to chemotherapy in syngeneic tumour lines.

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Cleveland Clinic, Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.


Reliable surrogate markers of response to anticancer therapy remain a desirable tool for preclinical modelling and clinical practice in oncology. Clinical evaluation is relatively unreliable when attempting to assess rapidly and prospectively the outcome of treatment. Fluxes in released or circulating tumour marker levels are a useful but inconsistent marker of cytotoxic response. Serial measurement of circulating tumour cells appears to have some utility as a surrogate marker, but assay systems are expensive, and many cancers are not associated with the presence of circulating tumour cells. Because tissue breakdown is associated with release of nucleic acids and other cellular products, we reasoned that serial measurement of intra-tumoural pH may correlate with the extent of tumour lysis, and thus with outcomes of cytotoxic chemotherapy. Doxorubicin-sensitive and doxorubicin-resistant sublines of P388 murine monocytic leukaemia in C57BL/6 mice were treated with increasing concentrations of doxorubicin. Tumours were serially measured by conventional bi-dimensional methods and pH was sampled using a bevelled tip electrode. Mean and median pH changes were statistically different in responsive and resistant tumours, and amplitude of change correlated with long-term responses to doxorubicin. Serial sampling of pH in tumour masses may provide a useful surrogate of long-term response to chemotherapy.

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