Rectal wall injury is an important treatment-related morbidity in patients treated with radiation for prostate cancer. We have undertaken this study to investigate the merits of topical intrarectal application of the radioprotective compound WR-2721. Male Copenhagen rats were injected intrarectally with 2% WR-2721 gel. At 10, 20, 30 and 40 min after application, a laparotomy was performed, and the rectum and prostate were removed. Concentrations of total WR-1065 (the active metabolite of WR-2721) were determined in these samples by an HPLC assay. While the concentration in the rectal wall tended to increase with time, it did not change substantially in the prostate. The concentration in the rectal wall was found to be significantly higher at all times. We conclude that preferential accumulation of WR-2721 in the rectal wall can be achieved by topical application. This is a promising approach to modifying rectal wall tolerance that deserves more study.

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