Folate-targeted polymersomes loaded with both paclitaxel and doxorubicin for the combination chemotherapy of hepatocellular carcinoma

Dunwan Zhu, Shengjie Wu, Chunyan Hu, Zhuo Chen, Hai Wang, Fan Fan, Yu Qin, Chun Wang, Hongfan Sun, Xigang Leng, Deling Kong, Linhua Zhang

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37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Combination chemotherapy is a promising method of improving cancer treatment, but the distinct pharmacokinetics of combined drugs and non-specific drug distribution slow down the development in the clinic. In this study, folate (FA) receptor-targeted polymersomes with apparent bilayered lamellar structure were successfully developed to co-encapsulate a hydrophobic-hydrophilic chemotherapeutic drug pair (PTX and DOX) in a single vesicle for enhancing the combination chemotherapeutic effect. Hydrophobic PTX was loaded into the thick hydrophobic lamellar membrane by the self-assembly of triblock copolymer PCL8000-PEG8000-PCL8000, while hydrophilic DOX was encapsulated into the hydrophilic reservoir using a trans-membrane ammonium sulfate gradient method. In vitro release study indicated that the drugs were released from the polymersomes in a controlled and sustained manner. Cellular uptake study indicated that FA-targeted Co-PS had higher internalization efficiency in FA receptor-overexpressing BEL-7404 cells than non-targeted Co-PS. In vitro cytotoxicity assay demonstrated that FA-targeted Co-PS exhibited less cytotoxic effect than free drug cocktail, but suppressed the growth of tumor cells more efficiently than non-targeted Co-PS. Ex vivo imaging biodistribution studies revealed that FA-targeted Co-PS led to highly efficient targeting and accumulation in the BEL-7404 xenograft tumor. Furthermore, the in vivo antitumor study showed that the combination chemotherapy of polymersomes to BEL-7404 tumor via intravenous injection was superior to free drug cocktail treatment, and the FA-targeted Co-PS exhibited significantly higher tumor growth inhibition than non-targeted Co-PS group. Therefore, the newly developed FA-targeted co-delivery polymersomes hold great promise for simultaneous delivery of multiple chemotherapeutics and would have great potential in tumor-targeting and combination chemotherapy. Statement of Significance Combination chemotherapy is a promising method of improving cancer treatment, but the distinct pharmacokinetics of combined drugs and non-specific drug distribution slow down the development in the clinic. In our study, novel folate-targeted co-delivery polymersomes (Co-PS) were successfully developed to encapsulate a hydrophobic-hydrophilic chemotherapeutic drug pair (paclitaxel and doxorubicin) into the different compartments of the vesicle. In vivo studies revealed that the combination chemotherapy of polymersomes to BEL-7404 xenograft tumor via intravenous injection was superior to free drug cocktail treatment, and the FA-targeted Co-PS exhibited significantly higher tumor growth inhibition than non-targeted Co-PS group. Therefore, the newly developed FA-targeted co-delivery polymersomes hold great promise for simultaneous delivery of multiple chemotherapeutics and would have great potential in tumor-targeting and combination chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-412
Number of pages14
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Volume58
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 81571793, 81671806, 51373199), Tianjin Municipal Natural Science Foundation (Grant No. 15JCZDJC38300), Program for Innovative Research Team in Peking Union Medical College, and Scientific Research Foundation for Returned Overseas Scholars, Ministry of Education of China.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Acta Materialia Inc.

Keywords

  • Co-delivery
  • Combination chemotherapy
  • Doxorubicin
  • Folate-receptor targeted
  • Paclitaxel
  • Polymersomes

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