Complete regression of local cancer using temperature-sensitive liposomes combined with ultrasound-mediated hyperthermia

Azadeh Kheirolomoom, Chun Yen Lai, Sarah M. Tam, Lisa M. Mahakian, Elizabeth S. Ingham, Katherine D. Watson, Katherine W. Ferrara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


The development of treatment protocols that result in a complete response to chemotherapy has been hampered by free drug toxicity and the low bioavailability of nano-formulated drugs. Here, we explore the application of temperature-sensitive liposomes that have been formulated to enhance stability in circulation. We formed a pH-sensitive complex between doxorubicin (Dox) and copper (CuDox) in the core of lysolipid-containing temperature-sensitive liposomes (LTSLs). The complex remains associated at neutral pH but dissociates to free Dox in lower pH environments. The resulting CuDox-LTSLs were injected intravenously into a syngeneic murine breast cancer model (6 mg Dox/kg body weight) and intravascular release of the drug was triggered by ultrasound. The entire tumor was insonified for 5 min prior to drug administration and 20 min post drug injection. A single-dose administration of CuDox-LTSLs combined with insonation suppressed tumor growth. Moreover, after twice per week treatment over a period of 28 days, a complete response was achieved in which the NDL tumor cells and the tumor interstitium could no longer be detected. All mice treated with ultrasound combined with CuDox-LTSLs survived, and tumor was undetectable 8 months post treatment. Iron and copper-laden macrophages were observed at early time points following treatment with this temperature sensitive formulation. Systemic toxicity indicators, such as cardiac hypertrophy, leukopenia, and weight and hair loss were not detected with CuDox-LTSLs after the 28-day therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-273
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


  • Doxorubicin
  • Extended survival
  • Hyperthermia
  • Temperature-sensitive liposomes
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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