Hypoxia-induced drug resistance (HDR) is a critical issue in cancer therapy. The presence of hypoxic tumor cells impedes drug uptake and reduces the cytotoxicity of chemotherapeutic drugs, leading to HDR and increasing the probability of tumor recurrence and metastasis. Microbubbles, which are used as an ultrasound contrast agent and drug/gas carrier, can locally deliver drugs/gas and produce an acousto–mechanical effect to enhance cell permeability under ultrasound sonication. The present study applied oxygen-loaded microbubbles (OMBs) to evaluate the mechanisms of overcoming HDR via promotion of drug uptake and reoxygenation. A hypoxic mouse prostate tumor cell model was established by hypoxic incubation for 4 h. After OMB treatment, the permeability of HDR cells was enhanced by 23 ± 5% and doxorubicin uptake was increased by 11 ± 7%. The 61 ± 14% reoxygenation of HDR cells increased the cytotoxicity of doxorubicin from 18 ± 4% to 58 ± 6%. In combination treatment with OMB and doxorubicin, the relative contributions of uptake promotion and reoxygenation towards overcoming HDR were 11 ± 7% and 28 ± 10%, respectively. Our study demonstrated that reoxygenation of hypoxic conditions is a critical mechanism in the inhibition of HDR and enhancing the outcome of OMB treatment.
- drug resistance