• Open Access

Metronomic irinotecan chemotherapy combined with ultrasound irradiation for a human uterine sarcoma xenograft


To whom correspondence should be addressed.
E-mail: emoto@cis.fukuoka-u.ac.jp


Metronomic chemotherapy is the frequent administration of low doses of chemotherapeutic agents targeting tumor-associated endothelial cells. We examined the efficacy of metronomic irinotecan combined with low-intensity ultrasound (US) in human uterine sarcoma and evaluated its antiangiogenesis mechanism by measuring the circulating endothelial progenitor cells (CEP), a surrogate marker of angiogenesis. A human uterine sarcoma cell line, FU-MMT-3, was used in the present study because this tumor is one of the most malignant neoplasms of human solid tumors and it also has a high angiogenesis property. The combination of low-dose irinotecan and US irradiation significantly inhibited the tube formation of HUVEC and vascular endothelial growth factor expression of tumor cells in vitro. The FU-MMT-3 xenografts in nude mice were treated using US at a low intensity (2.0 w/cm2, 1 MHz) for 4 min three times per week each after the intraperitoneal administration of irinotecan; this treatment was continued for 5 weeks. The tumor vascularity was assessed by contrast-enhanced color Doppler US in real time. The combination treatment significantly inhibited the mobilization of CEP and intratumoral vascularity compared with the control. This combination therapy showed a significant reduction in tumor volume, resulting in a significant prolongation of survival, in comparison with each treatment alone. These results suggest that the effect of metronomic chemotherapy for human uterine sarcoma was accelerated by US irradiation in vivo and this combination might therefore be potentially effective for new cancer therapy. (Cancer Sci 2011; 102: 452–459)