MRI Guided Analysis of Changes in Tumor Oxygenation in Response to Hypoxia Activated/Targeted Therapeutics

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A tumor is a heterogeneous combination of proliferating tumor cells, infiltrating immune cells and stromal components along with a variety of associated host tissue cells, collectively termed the tumor microenvironment

A tumor is a heterogeneous combination of proliferating tumor cells, infiltrating immune cells and stromal components along with a variety of associated host tissue cells, collectively termed the tumor microenvironment (TME). The constituents of the TME and their interaction with the host organ shape and define the properties of tumors and contribute towards the acquisition of hallmark traits such as hypoxia. Hypoxia imparts resistance to cancer from chemotherapy and radiotherapy due to the decreased production of reactive oxygen species and also promotes angiogenesis, malignant progression and metastasis. It also provides a powerful physiological stimulus that can be exploited as a tumor-specific condition, allowing for the rational design of anticancer hypoxia-activated pro-drugs (HAP). Accurate evaluation of tumor oxygenation in response to therapeutics interventions at various stages of growth should provide a better understanding of tumor response to therapy, potentially allowing therapy to be tailored to individual characteristics. The primary goal of this research was to investigate the utility of prospective identification of hypoxic tumors, by two different Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) based oximetry approaches, in successful treatment with hypoxia activated therapy. In the present study, I report the utility of these two techniques 1) PISTOL (Proton Imaging of Siloxanes to map Tissue Oxygenation Levels) and 2) use of a hypoxia binding T1 contrast agent GdDO3NI in reporting the modulations of hypoxia pre and post hypoxia activated therapies in pre-clinical models of cancer. I have performed these studies in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and epidermoid carcinoma (NCI-H1975 and A431 cell lines, respectively) as well as in patient derived xenograft models of NSCLC. Both the oximetry techniques have the potential to differentiate between normoxic and hypoxic regions of the tumor and reveal both baseline heterogeneity and differential response to therapeutic intervention. The response of the tumor models to therapeutic interventions indicates that, in conjunction with pO2, other factors such as tumor perfusion (essential for delivering HAPs) and relative expression of nitroreductases (essential for activating HAPs) may play an important role. The long term goal of the proposed research is the clinical translation of both the MRI techniques and aiding the design and development of personalized therapy (e.g. patient stratification for novel hypoxia activated pro-drugs) particularly for cancer.