Heterogeneous intratumoral distribution of gadolinium nanoparticles within U87 human glioblastoma xenografts unveiled by micro-PIXE imaging.

Asuncion Carmona, Stéphane Roudeau, Baptiste L'Homel, Frédéric Pouzoulet, Sarah Bonnet-Boissinot, Yolanda Prezado, Richard Ortega (2017 Feb 23) Analytical biochemistry : 50-57 : DOI : S0003-2697(17)30080-5

Metallic nanoparticles have great potential in cancer radiotherapy as theranostic drugs since, they serve simultaneously as contrast agents for medical imaging and as radio-therapy sensitizers. As with other anticancer drugs, intratumoral diffusion is one of the main limiting factors for therapeutic efficiency. To date, a few reports have investigated the intratumoral distribution of metallic nanoparticles. The aim of this study was to determine the quantitative distribution of gadolinium (Gd) nanoparticles after direct intratumoral injection within U87 human glioblastoma tumors grafted in mice, using micro-PIXE (Particle Induced X-ray Emission) imaging. AGuIX (Activation and Guiding of Irradiation by X-ray) 3 nm particles composed of a polysiloxane network surrounded by gadolinium chelates were used. PIXE results indicate that the direct injection of Gd nanoparticles in tumors results in their heterogeneous diffusion, probably related to variations in tumor density. All tumor regions contain Gd, but with markedly different concentrations, with a more than 250-fold difference. Also Gd can diffuse to the healthy adjacent tissue. This study highlights the usefulness of mapping the distribution of metallic nanoparticles at the intratumoral level, and proposes PIXE as an imaging modality to probe the quantitative distribution of metallic nanoparticles in tumors from experimental animal models with micrometer resolution.