Time-intensity-curve Analysis and Tumor Extravasation of Nanobubble Ultrasound Contrast Agents

Hanping Wu, Eric C. Abenojar, Reshani Perera, Al Christopher De Leon, Tianzhi An, Agata A. Exner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Our group recently presented a simple strategy using the non-ionic surfactant, Pluronic, as a size control excipient to produce nanobubbles in the 100-nm range, which exhibited stability and echogenicity on par with clinically available microbubbles. The objective of the present study was to evaluate biodistribution and extravasation of the Pluronic-stabilized lipid nanobubbles compared with microbubbles in 2 experimental tumor models in mice. Standard lipid-stabilized perfluoropropane bubbles (Pluronic L10) and lipid-stabilized perfluoropropane nanobubbles were intravenously injected into mice bearing either an orthotopic mouse breast cancer (BC4 T1) or subcutaneous mouse ovarian cancer (OVCAR-3) through the tail vein to perform perfusion dynamic studies. No significant differences between the nanobubble and microbubble groups were observed in the peak enhancement of the 3 tested regions (tumor, liver and kidney). However, the decay rates of nanobubble in the tumor and kidney of BC4 T1-bearing mice, as well as in mice with OVRCAR-3 tumors were significantly slower than those of the microbubble. To quantify extravasation, fluorescently labeled bubbles were intravenously injected into mice bearing the same tumors. Histologic analysis showed that nanobubbles were retained in tumor tissue to a greater extent compared with microbubbles in both tumor models at the 3-h time point. Our results demonstrate unique nanobubble behavior compared with microbubbles and support augmented application of these agents in ultrasound molecular imaging and drug delivery beyond the tumor vasculature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2502-2514
Number of pages13
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast cancer
  • Contrast-enhanced ultrasound
  • Microbubbles
  • Nanobubbles
  • Ovarian cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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