A preliminary report on the effects of paclitaxel-impregnated stents on sheep nasal mucosa

Brian W Herrmann, Martin J Citardi, George Vogler, Laura Gardner, Greg Smith, Amin R Javer, Helen M Burt, John Jackson, Frederick A Kuhn
American Journal of Rhinology 2004, 18 (2): 119-24

INTRODUCTION: Traditional frontal sinus stents serve only as mechanical devices. It has been proposed that stents also may serve as drug-delivery systems for the topical application of drugs that minimize postoperative scarring. Paclitaxel (Taxol), which has recognized antiscarring effects, may be incorporated via a polymeric formulation into standard rubber stents. The impact of topically applied paclitaxel on the morphology of the nasal mucosa is unknown.

METHODS: An adult sheep model was used for this study. A modified rubber T-tube stent (incorporating paclitaxel at varying dosages) was secured to each side of the septum in four animals (eight sides). An unmodified T-tube was placed on each side of one animal, a T-tube with the drug carrier (but no paclitaxel) was placed on each side of the second animal, and T-tubes with varying paclitaxel were placed on each side of the final two animals. After 4 weeks, animals were killed and the nasal mucosa was harvested. The nasal mucosa was sectioned and stained with hematoxylin and eosin. A pathologist then assessed the nasal mucosa for vascular congestion, glandular atrophy, chronic inflammation, mucosal metaplasia, and mucosal ulceration.

RESULTS: No consistent histopathological differences were noted in the specimens. All specimens showed varying degrees of vascular congestion, glandular atrophy, chronic inflammation, and mucosal metaplasia; the paclitaxel-impregnated stents were not consistently associated with more severe mucosal injury. Finally, mucosal ulceration was noted to be very rare in all specimens.

CONCLUSION: This preliminary report describes the impact of paclitaxel-impregnated stents on sheep nasal mucosa, which tolerated these stents very well. Because paclitaxel minimizes scarring reactions at very low concentrations, paclitaxel-impregnated stents may prove useful in clinical situations in which frontal sinus stenting is deemed necessary. Additional investigations with animal models, as well as clinical trials, may be warranted.

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