Microdialysis for assessing intratumoral drug disposition in brain cancers: A tool for rational drug development

Jaishri Blakeley, Jana Portnow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Importance of the field: Many promising targeted agents and combination therapies are being investigated for brain cancer. However, the results from recent clinical trials have been disappointing. A better understanding of the disposition of drug in the brain early in drug development would facilitate appropriate channeling of new drugs into brain cancer clinical trials. Areas covered in this review: Barriers to successful drug activity against brain cancer and issues affecting intratumoral drug concentrations are reviewed. The use of the microdialysis technique for extracellular fluid (ECF) sampling and its application to drug distribution studies in brain are reviewed using published literature from 1995 to the present. The benefits and limitations of microdialysis for performing neuorpharmacokinetic (nPK) and neuropharmacodynamic (nPD) studies are discussed. What the reader will gain: The reader will gain an appreciation of the challenges involved in identifying agents likely to have efficacy in brain cancer, an understanding of the general principles of microdialysis, and the power and limitations of using this technique in early drug development for brain cancer therapies. Take home message: A major factor preventing efficacy of anti-brain cancer drugs is limited access to tumor. Intracerebral microdialysis allows sampling of drug in the brain ECF. The resulting nPK/nPD data can aid in the rational selection of drugs for investigation in brain tumor clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1477-1491
Number of pages15
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Metabolism and Toxicology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • BBB
  • Brain cancer
  • Clinical trial
  • Drug delivery
  • Microdialysis
  • Pharmacodynamics
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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