Elevated interstitial fluid pressure (IFP) may constitute a significant physiological barrier to drug delivery in solid tumors. Strategies for overcoming this barrier have not been developed to date. To identify and characterize various mechanisms regulating IFP and to develop strategies for overcoming the IFP barrier, we modeled the tumor as a poroelastic solid. We used this model to simulate the effect of changes in microvascular pressure and tumor blood flow (TBF) on IFP. To test model predictions, the effects of changes in arterial pressure and TBF on IFP were measured using a tissue-isolated tumor preparation. IFP in the center of an isolated tumor was predicted to follow variation of the arterial pressure with a time delay of the order of magnitude of 10 s, and this delay was found to be 11 ± 6 s experimentally. Following a cessation of TBF, the time constant of the drop in IFP was predicted to be of the order of 1000 s and was found to be 1500 ± 900 s experimentally. The former time scale is characteristic of transcapillary fluid exchange, and the latter of percolation of fluid through the interstitial matrix. Relying on the good agreement between theoretical predictions and experimental data, we estimated the effect of blood pressure modulation on macromolecular uptake in solid tumors. Our results show that no appreciable increase of macromolecular uptake should occur either by an acute or by a chronic increase of blood pressure. On the other hand, higher uptake would result from periodic modulation of blood pressure. Therefore, the effectiveness of a vasoconstrictor such as angiotensin II to increase macromolecular delivery should be significantly enhanced by periodic rather than bolus or continuous administration of the vasoactive agent.

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This work was supported by an Outstanding Investigator Grant from the NCI (R35-CA-56591) to R. K. J. P. A. N. was supported in part by the Italian National Research Council (CNR).

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