The safety and exploration of the pharmacokinetics of intrapleural liposomal curcumin

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Background: Malignant pleural effusion (MPE) is the accumulation of fluid in the pleural cavity as a result of malignancies affecting the lung, pleura and mediastinal lymph nodes. Curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, has anti-cancer properties that could not only treat MPE accumulation but also reduce cancer burden. To our knowledge, direct administration of curcumin into the pleural cavity has never been reported, neither in animals nor in humans. Purpose: To explore the compartmental distribution, targeted pharmacokinetics and the safety profile of liposomal curcumin following intrapleural and intravenous administration. Methods: Liposomal curcumin (16 mg/kg) was administered into Fischer 344 rats by either intrapleural injection or intravenous infusion. The concentration of curcumin in plasma and tissues (lung, liver and diaphragm) were measured using ultra-performance liquid chromatogra-phy-mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS). Blood and tissues were examined for pathological changesResults: No pleural or lung pathologies were observed following intrapleural liposomal curcumin administration. Total curcumin concentration peaked 1.5 hrs after the administration of intrapleural liposomal curcumin and red blood cell morphology appeared normal. A red blood cells abnormality (echinocytosis) was observed immediately and at 1.5 hrs after intravenous infusion of liposomal curcumin. Conclusion: These results indicate that liposomal curcumin is safe when administered directly into the pleural cavity and may represent a viable alternative to intravenous infusion in patients with pleural-based tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)943-952
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Nanomedicine
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2020

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  • Curcumin
  • Intrapleural
  • Liposomal
  • Local administration
  • Malignant pleural effusion


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