The effects of taxanes, vorinostat and doxorubicin on growth and proliferation of Echinococcus multilocularis metacestodes assessed with magnetic resonance imaging and simultaneous positron emission tomography

Xiangsheng Huang, Stefan Wiehr, Anna Maria Wild, Patrick Voßberg, Wolfgang Hoffmann, Beate Grüner, Carsten Köhler, Peter T. Soboslay

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Cytostatic drugs used in cancer therapy were evaluated for their capacity to inhibit Echinococcus multilocularis metacestode growth and proliferation. Metacestode tissues were exposed in vitro to docetaxel, doxorubicin, navelbine, paclitaxel, and vorinostat for 1 week, then incubated in drug-free culture, and thereafter metacestodes were injected into the peritoneum of Meriones unguiculatus. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and simultaneous positron emission tomography (PET) were applied to monitor in vivo growth of drug-exposed E. multilocularis in Meriones. At 3 month p.i., docetaxel (at 10 μM, 5 μM and 2 μM) inhibited in vivo growth and proliferation of E. multilocularis, and at 5 months p.i., only in the 2 μM docetaxel exposure group 0.3 cm3 of parasite tissue was found. With paclitaxel and navelbine the in vivo growth of metacestodes was suppressed until 3 months p.i., thereafter, parasite tissues enlarged up to 3 cm3 in both groups. E. multilocularis tissues of more than 10 g developed in Meriones injected with metacestodes which were previously exposed in vitro to doxorubicin, navelbine, paclitaxel or vorinostat. In Meriones infected with metacestodes previously exposed to docetaxel, the in vivo grown parasite tissues weighted 0.2 g. In vitro cultured E. multilocularis metacestodes exposed to docetaxel did not produce vesicles until 7 weeks post drug exposure, while metacestodes exposed to doxorubicin, navelbine and vorinostat proliferated continuously. In summary, docetaxel, and less efficaciously paclitaxel, inhibited in vivo and in vitro parasite growth and proliferation, and these observations suggest further experimental studies with selected drug combinations which may translate into new treatment options against alveolar echinococcosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9073-9087
Number of pages15
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes



  • Docetaxel
  • Doxorubicin
  • Drug exposure
  • Echinococcus multilocularis
  • Histone deacetylase inhibitor
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Metacestode
  • Paclitaxel
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Taxanes
  • Vorinostat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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