Elevated interstitial fluid pressure (IFP) is associated with poor blood supply and inadequate delivery of drugs to solid tumors. IFP was measured in squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck region in humans using the wick-in-needle technique. In all lesions (n = 19), the IFP was elevated (4–33 mm Hg). Furthermore, the IFP increased with tumor size. The highest IFP was 33 mm Hg in a 24-ml tumor. In one tumor, the IFP was found to be negative (-2.6 mm Hg), which is comparable to that in human skin or subcutaneous tissue. The histopathology of this tumor was benign. If this pressure difference between malignant and benign lesions can be confirmed in a large number of tumors, then the IFP could be used to aid tumor detection during needle biopsy. The value of IFP as a predictor of response to radiotherapy, photodynamic therapy, hyperthermia, and chemotherapy should be assessed prospectively.


Supported by Bundesministerium für Forschung und Technik Grant 0706903A5 to A. E. G. and National Cancer Institute Grants CA37239 and CA49792 to R. K. J.; M. L. is the recipient of a Feodor-Lynen Fellowship (1991–1992); and R. K. J. was a recipient of a Humboldt Senior Scientist Award (1990–1991). This is the third paper in a series on interstitial pressure in human tumors.

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