Submicron emulsions (SEs) is an advanced formulation that possesses good biocompatibility, high loading of hydrophobic drugs, and good stability through autoclave sterilization. To enhance tumor targeting and tumor cell uptake, SEs could be modified with positive charge and targeting moieties. In the present study, three formulations were prepared: Docetaxel-loaded SEs (DocSEs), cationic DocSEs (DocCSEs), and low density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) targeted peptide-RLT (CEKLKEAFRLTRKRGLKLA) modified DocCSEs (RLT-DocCSEs). The optimized RLT-DocCSEs showed a particle size 182.2±10nm, a zeta potential 39.62±2.41mV, and a loading efficiency of Docetaxel (Doc) 98%. RLT-DocCSEs demonstrated sustained release in 96h and was stable for two months at 4°C. Compared to DocSEs and DocCSEs, RLT-DocCSEs caused significantly more PC-3 cell inhibition and cell apoptosis. RLT-DocCSEs also showed more cellular uptake and slower cellular elimination than that of DocSEs and DocCSEs. The present study indicated RLT-DocCSEs could be a potential formulation for injection of anti-cancer therapeutics with increased tumor targeting and anti-tumor efficacy.
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