Oncology reports

Co-delivery of doxorubicin and pH-sensitive curcumin prodrug by transferrin-targeted nanoparticles for breast cancer treatment.

PMID 28075466


The natural product curcumin and the chemotherapeutic agent doxorubicin have been used in the treatment of many cancers, including breast cancer. However, fast clearance and unspecific distribution in the body after intravenous injection are still challenges to be overcome by an ideal nano-sized drug delivery system in cancer treatment. In this study we design transferrin (Tf) decorated nanoparticles (NPs) to co-deliver CUR and DOX for breast cancer treatment. A pH-sensitive prodrug, transferrin-poly(ethylene glycol)-curcumin (Tf-PEG-CUR), was synthesized and used for the self‑assembling of NPs (Tf-PEG-CUR NPs). DOX is incorporated into the Tf-PEG-CUR NPs to obtain Tf-PEG-CUR/DOX NPs. Inxa0vitro cytotoxicity studies and in vivo antitumor activity were carried out using MCF-7 cells and mice bearing MCF-7 cells, respectively. Tf-PEG-CUR/DOX NPs has a particle size of 89xa0nm and a zeta potential of -15.6xa0mV. This system displayed remarkably higher efficiency than other systems both inxa0vitro and inxa0vivo. DOX and CUR were successfully loaded into nanocarriers. The in vitro cell viability assays revealed the combination of Tf-PEG-CUR and DOX NPs exhibited higher cytotoxicity in vitro in MCF-7 cells compared with Tf-PEG-CUR NPs alone. Using the breast cancer xenograft mouse model, we demonstrate that this co-encapsulation approach resulted in an efficient tumor-targeted drug delivery, decreased cytotoxic effects and exhibited stronger antitumor effect.

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N-(3-Dimethylaminopropyl)-N′-ethylcarbodiimide, ≥97.0% (T)