Induction of oxidative stress is a key component of cancer therapy. Pro-oxidant drugs have been demonstrated to enhance the efficacy of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. An emerging concept is that therapeutic outcomes are dictated by the differential redox buffering reserve in subpopulations of malignant cells, indicating the need for noninvasive biomarkers of tumor redox that can be used for dose identification and response assessment in a longitudinal setting. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) enhanced with the thiol-binding contrast agent Gd-LC6-SH, and hemodynamic response imaging (HRI) in combination with hypercapnia and hyperoxia were investigated as biomarkers of the pharmacodynamics of the small molecule pro-oxidant imexon (IMX). Human multiple myeloma cell lines 8226/S and an IMX-resistant variant, 8226/IM10, were established as contralateral tumors in SCID mice. T1slope, an MRI measure of the washout rate of Gd-LC6-SH, was significantly lower post-IMX therapy in 8226/S tumors compared with vehicle controls, indicating treatment-related oxidization of the tumor microenvironment, which was confirmed by analysis of tumor tissue for thiols. T1slope and ex vivo assays for thiols both indicated a more reduced microenvironment in 8226/IM10 tumors following IMX therapy. HRI with hypercapnia challenge revealed IMX inhibition of vascular dilation in 8226/S tumors but not 8226/IM10 tumors, consistent with decreased immunohistochemical staining for smooth muscle actin in treated 8226/S tumors. MRI enhanced with Gd-LC6-SH, and HRI coupled with a hypercapnic challenge provide noninvasive biomarkers of tumor response to the redox modulator imexon.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research