Effective drug delivery in diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma: A theoretical model to identify potential candidates

Fatma E. El-Khouly*, Dannis G. van Vuurden, Thom Stroink, Esther Hulleman, Gertjan J.L. Kaspers, N. Harry Hendrikse, Sophie E.M. Veldhuijzen van Zanten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Despite decades of clinical trials for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), patient survival does not exceed 10% at two years post-diagnosis. Lack of benefit from systemic chemotherapy may be attributed to an intact bloodbrain barrier (BBB). We aim to develop a theoretical model including relevant physicochemical properties in order to review whether applied chemotherapeutics are suitable for passive diffusion through an intact BBB or whether local administration via convection-enhanced delivery (CED) may increase their therapeutic potential. Physicochemical properties (lipophilicity, molecular weight, and charge in physiological environment) of anticancer drugs historically and currently administered to DIPG patients, that affect passive diffusion over the BBB, were included in the model. Subsequently, the likelihood of BBB passage of these drugs was ascertained, as well as their potential for intratumoral administration via CED. As only non-molecularly charged, lipophilic, and relatively small sized drugs are likely to passively diffuse through the BBB, out of 51 drugs modeled, only 8 (15%)-carmustine, lomustine, erlotinib, vismodegib, lenalomide, thalidomide, vorinostat, and mebendazole-are theoretically qualified for systemic administration in DIPG. Local administration via CED might create more therapeutic options, excluding only positively charged drugs and drugs that are either prodrugs and/or only available as oral formulation. A wide variety of drugs have been administered systemically to DIPG patients. Our model shows that only few are likely to penetrate the BBB via passive diffusion, which may partly explain the lack of efficacy. Drug distribution via CED is less dependent on physicochemical properties and may increase the therapeutic options for DIPG.

Original languageEnglish
Article number254
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
Issue numberOCT
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 El-Khouly, van Vuurden, Stroink, Hulleman, Kaspers, Hendrikse and Veldhuijzen van Zanten.


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