Despite being one of the most efficacious drugs used in the treatment of basal cell carcinoma (BCC), imiquimod has limited cutaneous permeation. The current work presents the development of polyvinylpyrrolidone-co-vinyl acetate (PVPVA) microneedles loaded with imiquimod for improving intradermal delivery of imiquimod for the treatment of nodular BCC. In vitro permeation studies, using full thickness ex vivo porcine skin were used to evaluate the effectiveness of these imiquimod loaded polymeric microneedles in comparison to the topical application of commercial Aldara™ cream. HPLC analysis demonstrated similar intradermal permeation of imiquimod from Aldara™ cream and imiquimod-loaded microneedles despite the microneedle having a six-fold lower drug loading than the clinical dose of Aldara™ used for BCC management. In addition, ToF-SIMS analysis of skin cross sections demonstrated intradermal localisation of imiquimod following microneedle-based delivery while the Aldara™ treated skin showed the drug localised predominantly within the stratum corneum. ToF-SIMS analysis also demonstrated intradermal co-localisation of the PVPVA polymer, used in fabricating the microneedle, with imiquimod within the microneedle channels in a label-free manner. This study demonstrates that a polymeric microneedle system may be a viable approach to improving the intradermal delivery of imiquimod for the treatment of nodular BCC with lower drug loading.
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Polyvinylpyrrolidone-co-vinyl acetate
- Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry