High interstitial fluid pressure (IFP) in solid tumors is associated with reduced blood flow as well as inadequate delivery of therapeutic agents such as monoclonal antibodies. In the present study, IFP was measured as a function of radial position within two rat tissue-isolated tumors (mammary adenocarcinoma R3230AC, 0.4–1.9 g, n = 9, and Walker 256 carcinoma, 0.5–5.0 g, n = 6) and a s.c. tumor (mammary adenocarcinoma R3230AC, 0.6–20.0 g, n = 7). Micropipettes (tip diameters 2 to 4 µm) connected to a servo-null pressure-monitoring system were introduced to depths of 2.5 to 3.5 mm from the tumor surface and IFP was measured while the micropipettes were retrieved to the surface. The majority (86%) of the pressure profiles demonstrated a large gradient in the periphery leading to a plateau of almost uniform pressure in the deeper layers of the tumors. Within isolated tumors, pressures reached plateau values at a distance of 0.2 to 1.1 mm from the surface. In s.c. tumors the sharp increase began in skin and levelled off at the skin-tumor interface. These results demonstrate for the first time that the IFP is elevated throughout the tumor and drops precipitously to normal values in the tumor's periphery or in the immediately surrounding tissue. These results confirm the predictions of our recently published mathematical model of interstitial fluid transport in tumors (Jain and Baxter, Cancer Res., 48: 7022–7032, 1988), offer novel insight into the etiology of interstitial hypertension, and suggest possible strategies for improved delivery of therapeutic agents.

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Supported by the NCI (CA-36902) and NSF (CBT-88-16062). This work was presented at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Meeting in San Francisco, November 6–10, 1989; the Microcirculation Society Meeting in Washington, DC, March 31 to April 1, 1990; the Biomedical Engineering Society Meeting in Washington, DC, April 2–5, 1990; and the Radiation Research Society Annual Meeting in New Orleans, April 8–12, 1990.

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