Attenuated microcirculation in small metastatic tumors in murine liver

Arturas Ziemys, Vladimir Simic, Miljan Milosevic, Milos Kojic, Yan Ting Liu, Kenji Yokoi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Metastatic cancer disease is the major cause of death in cancer patients. Because those small secondary tumors are clinically hardly detectable in their early stages, little is known about drug biodistribution and permeation into those metastatic tumors potentially contributing to insufficient clinical success against metastatic disease. Our recent studies indicated that breast cancer liver metastases may have compromised perfusion of intratumoral capillaries hindering the delivery of therapeutics for yet unknown reasons. To understand the microcirculation of small liver metastases, we have utilized computational simulations to study perfusion and oxygen concentration fields in and around the metastases smaller than 700 µm in size at the locations of portal vessels, central vein, and liver lobule acinus. Despite tumor vascularization, the results show that blood flow in those tumors can be substantially reduced indicating the presence of inadequate blood pressure gradients across tumors. A low blood pressure may contribute to the collapsed intratumoral capillary lumen limiting tumor perfusion that phenomenologically corroborates with our previously published in vivo studies. Tumors that are smaller than the liver lobule size and originating at different lobule locations may possess a different microcirculation environment and tumor perfusion. The acinus and portal vessel locations in the lobule were found to be the most beneficial to tumor growth based on tumor access to blood flow and intratumoral oxygen. These findings suggest that microcirculation states of small metastatic tumors can potentially contribute to physiological barriers preventing efficient delivery of therapeutic substances into small tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number703
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 12 2021


  • Diffusion
  • Liver lobule
  • Metastases
  • Perfusion
  • Therapeutic resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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