Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a particularly lethal form of cancer. In 2012, the incidence of PDAC was 43,920. Five-year survival for patients with PDAC is around 6%, regardless of staging, making PDAC one of the deadliest forms of cancer. One reason for this dismal prognosis is chemoresistance to the current first-line therapy, gemcitabine. There are multiple factors that contribute to the chemoresistance observed in pancreatic cancer. Among them, desmoplasia has been increasingly seen as a significant contributor to chemoresistance. To overcome desmoplastic chemoresistance, several novel methods of treatment have been developed. Electroporation is one such novel treatment. High electrical fields are applied to cells to create pores that increase cell permeability. It has been previously demonstrated that electroporation enhances the therapeutic efficacy of anticancer drugs in pancreatic tumor models. Nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems constitute a second novel method to overcome desmoplastic chemoresistance. Due to their intrinsic design advantages, nanoparticles have been shown to increase the effectiveness of chemotherapeutic agents, while further reducing or even eliminating side effects. To date, there have been no studies evaluating the cumulative effect of combining both nanoparticle and electroporation strategies to overcome chemoresistance in PDAC. Our preliminary studies assessed the in vitro and in vivo uptake of doxorubicin-loaded iron oxide nanoparticles as a function of electroporation voltage and timing of administration in pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells. Our studies demonstrated that addition of electroporation to administration of nanoparticles significantly increased the amount of intracellular iron oxide nanoparticle uptake by a PANC-1 cell line in an athymic nude mouse model of PDAC. Further, electroporation-assisted nanoparticle uptake could be significantly altered by changing the timing of application of electroporation.
West, D. L., White, S. B., Zhang, Z., Larson, A. C., & Omary, R. A. (2014). Assessment and optimization of electroporation-assisted tumoral nanoparticle uptake in a nude mouse model of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. International Journal of Nanomedicine, 9, 4169–4176. https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S63324