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      Targeting Tumor Perfusion and Oxygenation to Improve the Outcome of Anticancer Therapy 1

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          Radiotherapy and chemotherapy are widespread clinical modalities for cancer treatment. Among other biological influences, hypoxia is a main factor limiting the efficacy of radiotherapy, primarily because oxygen is involved in the stabilization of the DNA damage caused by ionizing radiations. Radiobiological hypoxia is found in regions of rodent and human tumors with a tissue oxygenation level below 10 mmHg at which tumor cells become increasingly resistant to radiation damage. Since hypoxic tumor cells remain clonogenic, their resistance to the treatment strongly influences the therapeutic outcome of radiotherapy. There is therefore an urgent need to identify adjuvant treatment modalities aimed to increase tumor pO 2 at the time of radiotherapy. Since tumor hypoxia fundamentally results from an imbalance between oxygen delivery by poorly efficient blood vessels and oxygen consumption by tumor cells with high metabolic activities, two promising approaches are those targeting vascular reactivity and tumor cell respiration. This review summarizes the current knowledge about the development and use of tumor-selective vasodilators, inhibitors of tumor cell respiration, and drugs and treatments combining both activities in the context of tumor sensitization to X-ray radiotherapy. Tumor-selective vasodilation may also be used to improve the delivery of circulating anticancer agents to tumors. Imaging tumor perfusion and oxygenation is of importance not only for the development and validation of such combination treatments, but also to determine which patients could benefit from the therapy. Numerous techniques have been developed in the preclinical setting. Hence, this review also briefly describes both magnetic resonance and non-magnetic resonance in vivo methods and compares them in terms of sensitivity, quantitative or semi-quantitative properties, temporal, and spatial resolutions, as well as translational aspects.

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          Most cited references 106

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          S-nitrosohaemoglobin: a dynamic activity of blood involved in vascular control.

          A dynamic cycle exists in which haemoglobin is S-nitrosylated in the lung when red blood cells are oxygenated, and the NO group is released during arterial-venous transit. The vasoactivity of S-nitrosohaemoglobin is promoted by the erythrocytic export of S-nitrosothiols. These findings highlight newly discovered allosteric and electronic properties of haemoglobin that appear to be involved in the control of blood pressure and which may facilitate efficient delivery of oxygen to tissues. The role of S-nitrosohaemoglobin in the transduction of NO-related activities may have therapeutic applications.
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            Hypoxic radiosensitization: adored and ignored.

            Since observations from the beginning of the last century, it has become well established that solid tumors may contain oxygen-deficient hypoxic areas and that cells in such areas may cause tumors to become radioresistant. Identifying hypoxic cells in human tumors has improved by the help of new imaging and physiologic techniques, and a substantial amount of data indicates the presence of hypoxia in many types of human tumors, although with a considerable heterogeneity among individual tumors. Controlled clinical trials during the last 40 years have indicated that this source of radiation resistance can be eliminated or modified by normobaric or hyperbaric oxygen or by the use of nitroimidazoles as hypoxic radiation sensitizers. More recently, attention has been given to hypoxic cytotoxins, a group of drugs that selectively or preferably destroys cells in a hypoxic environment. An updated systematic review identified 10,108 patients in 86 randomized trials designed to modify tumor hypoxia in patients treated with curative attempted primary radiation therapy alone. Overall modification of tumor hypoxia significantly improved the effect of radiotherapy, with an odds ratio of 0.77 (95% CI, 0.71 to 0.86) for the outcome of locoregional control and with an associated significant overall survival benefit (odds ratio = 0.87; 95% CI, 0.80 to 0.95). No significant influence was found on the incidence of distant metastases or on the risk of radiation-related complications. Ample data exist to support a high level of evidence for the benefit of hypoxic modification. However, hypoxic modification still has no impact on general clinical practice.
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              MRI of the tumor microenvironment.

              The microenvironment within tumors is significantly different from that in normal tissues. A major difference is seen in the chaotic vasculature of tumors, which results in unbalanced blood supply and significant perfusion heterogeneities. As a consequence, many regions within tumors are transiently or chronically hypoxic. This exacerbates tumor cells' natural tendency to overproduce acids, resulting in very acidic pH values. The hypoxia and acidity of tumors have important consequences for antitumor therapy and can contribute to the progression of tumors to a more aggressive metastatic phenotype. Over the past decade, techniques have emerged that allow the interrogation of the tumor microenvironment with high resolution and molecularly specific probes. Techniques are available to interrogate perfusion, vascular distribution, pH, and pO(2) nondestructively in living tissues with relatively high precision. Studies employing these methods have provided new insights into the causes and consequences of the hostile tumor microenvironment. Furthermore, it is quite exciting that there are emerging techniques that generate tumor image contrast via ill-defined mechanisms. Elucidation of these mechanisms will yield further insights into the tumor microenvironment. This review attempts to identify techniques and their application to tumor biology, with an emphasis on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) approaches. Examples are also discussed using electron MR, optical, and radionuclear imaging techniques. Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

                Author and article information

                Front Pharmacol
                Front Pharmacol
                Front. Pharmacol.
                Frontiers in Pharmacology
                Frontiers Research Foundation
                24 February 2012
                21 May 2012
                : 3
                1Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Research Group, Louvain Drug Research Institute, Université catholique de Louvain Medical School Brussels, Belgium
                2Pole of Pharmacology, Institute of Experimental and Clinical Research, Université Catholique de Louvain Medical School Brussels, Belgium
                Author notes

                Edited by: François E. Paris, INSERM, France

                Reviewed by: Carine Michiels, University of Namur, Belgium; David Waugh, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland

                *Correspondence: Pierre Sonveaux, University of Louvain Medical School, Pole of Pharmacology, Avenue Emmanuel Mounier 52 Box B1.53.09, B-1200 Brussels, Belgium. e-mail: pierre.sonveaux@ 123456uclouvain.be

                This article was submitted to Frontiers in Pharmacology of Anti-Cancer Drugs, a specialty of Frontiers in Pharmacology.

                Copyright © 2012 Jordan and Sonveaux.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 121, Pages: 15, Words: 13420
                Review Article


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