Excretion of a radiolabelled anticancer biodegradable polymeric implant from the rabbit brain

A. J. Domb, M. Rock, C. Perkin, G. Yipchuck, B. Broxup, J. G. Villemure

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45 Scopus citations


The elimination of a clinically used anticancer biodegradable polymer implant (Gliadel) in the rabbit brain was studied. The implant is composed of N,N-bis(2-chloroethyl)-N-nitrosourea (BCNU) (1.6 wt%) dispersed in a copolyanhydride matrix of 1,3-bis(p-carboxyphenoxypropane) (CPP) and sebacic acid (SA) in a 20:80 molar ratio. Four groups of rabbits were implanted with wafers loaded with BCNU, one in a 14C-SA-labelled polymer, another in a 14C-CPP-labelled polymer and two groups with 14C-BCNU in a non-labelled polymer, one for BCNU disposition study and one for residual drug study. In the rabbits implanted with the 14C-SA-labelled polymer, approximately 10% of the radioactivity was found in the urine and 2% in the faeces, and about 10% remained in the device 7d after implantation. In contrast, only 4% of the radioactivity of the 14C-CPP-labelled polymer was found in urine and faeces during this period. However, a drastic increase in the CPP excretion was found after 9d, and at 21 d, 64% of the implanted 14C-CPP was found in the urine and faeces, and 29% was still in the recovered wafers. Approximately 50% of the BCNU in the wafers was released in 3d, and over 95% was released after 6 d in the rabbit brain. This study demonstrates that BCNU-loaded polyanhydride is biodegradable and is excreted from the body primarily through the renal system. The water-soluble components SA and BCNU were rapidly excreted, while the insoluble CPP was gradually eliminated after a lag time of 9 d.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1069-1072
Number of pages4
Issue number14
StatePublished - Sep 1995
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by NIH NCDDG grant UOl CA52857. The authors would like to thank C. Mitoma and S. Rhee from Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, CA, USA for the synthesis of the radioactive polymers, and M. Green and C. Clow from Scios-Nova for their help.


  • Biodegradation
  • brain implant
  • polyanhydride
  • radioactive polymer


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