Nanotheranostics 2020; 4(4):256-269. doi:10.7150/ntno.46892

Research Paper

The effect of ultrasound pulse length on microbubble cavitation induced antibody accumulation and distribution in a mouse model of breast cancer

Marie Amate1, Joseph Goldgewicht1,2, Balasubramanian Sellamuthu1, John Stagg3, Francois T.H. Yu1,2✉

1. Microbubble Theranostic Laboratory, CHUM Research Center, Montreal, Canada.
2. Department of Radiology, Radiation Oncology and Nuclear Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal.
3. Faculty of Pharmacy, Université de Montréal.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( See for full terms and conditions.
Amate M, Goldgewicht J, Sellamuthu B, Stagg J, Yu FTH. The effect of ultrasound pulse length on microbubble cavitation induced antibody accumulation and distribution in a mouse model of breast cancer. Nanotheranostics 2020; 4(4):256-269. doi:10.7150/ntno.46892. Available from

File import instruction


In solid tumors, the limited diffusion of therapeutic molecules in the perivascular space is a known limitation impacting treatment efficacy. Ultrasound Targeted Microbubble Cavitation (UTMC) has been shown to increase vascular permeability and improve the delivery of therapeutic compounds including small molecules, antibodies (mAb), nanoparticles and even cells, notably across the blood-brain-barrier (BBB). In this study, we hypothesized that UTMC could improve the accumulation and biodistribution of mAb targeting the adenosinergic pathway (i.e. CD73) in mice bearing bilateral subcutaneous 4T1 mammary carcinoma. METHODS: A bolus of fluorescently labeled mAb was given intravenously, followed by a slow infusion of microbubbles. UTMC therapy (1 MHz, 850 kPa) was given under ultrasound image guidance for 5 minutes to the right side tumor only, using three different pulse lengths with identical ultrasound energy (5000cyc “long”, 125x40cyc “mid” and 500x10cyc “short”), and leaving the left tumor as a paired control. Longitudinal accumulation at 0 h, 4 h and 24 h was measured using whole-body biofluorescence and confocal microscopy. RESULTS: Our data support an increase in antibody accumulation and extravasation (# extravasated vessels and extravasated signal intensity) at 0 h for all pulses and at 4 h for the mid and short pulses when compared to the control non treated side. However, this difference was not found at 24 h post UTMC, indicative of the transient nature of UTMC. Interestingly, confocal data supported that the highest extravasation range was obtained at 0 h with the long pulse and that the short pulse caused no increase in the extravasation range. Overall, the mid pulse was the only pulse to increase all our metrics (biofluorescence, fraction of extravasated vessels, amount of extravasated Ab, and extravasation range) at 0 h and 4 h time points. CONCLUSIONS: Our results support that UTMC can enhance antibody accumulation in solid tumors at the macroscopic and microscopic levels. This preferential accumulation was evident at early time points (0 h and 4 h) but had started to fade by 24 h, a time dependence that is consistent with the ultrasound blood brain barrier opening literature. Further development and optimization of this theranostic platform, such as repeated UTMC, could help improve antibody based therapies against solid cancer.

Keywords: antibody therapy, ultrasound, microbubbles, image guided therapy, solid cancer, immune check-point blockade, extravasation.