Expert opinion on drug delivery

Albumin-drug conjugates in the treatment of hepatic disorders.

PMID 24773257


This review deals with the use of serum albumin (SA) as a carrier for the selective delivery of drugs to liver cells. The synthesis and properties of the SA conjugates prepared to enhance the performance of the drugs used in the treatment of viral hepatitis, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), liver micrometastases and hepatic fibrosis are reported. Studies in humans and laboratory animals demonstrated the capacity of SA conjugates to accomplish a liver targeting of the drugs, but at the same time underscored their limits and drawbacks, which can explain why to date these complexes did not reach a practical application. The major drawback is the need of administration by intravenous route, which prevents long-term daily treatments as required by some liver pathologies, such as chronic virus hepatitis and fibrosis. At present, only a conjugate carrying doxorubicin and addressed to the treatment of HCC showed in laboratory animals a solid potentiality to improve the value of the coupled drug. In the future, conjugation to SA could remain a successful strategy to permit the administration of drugs with rapid resolutive effects inside liver cells without causing severe extrahepatic adverse reactions.