The lungs are major sites of metastases for several cancer types, including breast cancer (BC). Prognosis and quality of life of BC patients that develop pulmonary metastases are negatively impacted. The development of strategies to slow the growth and relieve the symptoms of BC lung metastases (BCLM) is thus an important goal in the management of BC. However, systemically administered first line small molecule chemotherapeutics have poor pharmacokinetic profiles and biodistribution to the lungs and significant off-target toxicity, severely compromising their effectiveness. In this work, we propose the local delivery of add-on immunotherapy to the lungs to support first line chemotherapy treatment of advanced BC. In a syngeneic murine model of BCLM, we show that local pulmonary administration (p.a.) of PLX-3397 (PLX), a colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor inhibitor (CSF-1Ri), is capable of overcoming physiological barriers of the lung epithelium, penetrating the tumor microenvironment (TME), and decreasing phosphorylation of CSF-1 receptors, as shown by the Western blot of lung tumor nodules. That inhibition is accompanied by an overall decrease in the abundance of protumorigenic (M2-like) macrophages in the TME, with a concomitant increase in the amount of antitumor (M1-like) macrophages when compared to the vehicle-treated control. These effects with PLX (p.a.) were achieved using a much smaller dose (1 mg/kg, every other day) compared to the systemic doses typically used in preclinical studies (40-800 mg/kg/day). As an additive in combination with intravenous (i.v.) administration of paclitaxel (PTX), PLX (p.a.) leads to a decrease in tumor burden without additional toxicity. These results suggested that the proposed immunochemotherapy, with regional pulmonary delivery of PLX along with the i.v. standard of care chemotherapy, may lead to new opportunities to improve treatment, quality of life, and survival of patients with BCLM.

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PubMed