Temozolomide (TMZ) is a pro-drug releasing a DNA alkylating agent that is the most effective drug to treat glial tumors when combined with radiation. TMZ is toxic, and therapeutic dosages are limited by severe side effects. Targeted delivery is thus needed to improve efficiency and reduce non-tumor tissue toxicity.
Multifunctional targetable nanoconjugates of TMZ hydrazide were synthesized using poly(β-L-malic acid) platform, which contained a targeting monoclonal antibody to transferrin receptor (TfR), trileucine (LLL), for pH-dependent endosomal membrane disruption, and PEG for protection.
The water-soluble TMZ nanoconjugates had hydrodynamic diameters in the range of 6.5 to 14.8 nm and ζ potentials in the range of −6.3 to −17.7 mV. Fifty percent degradation in human plasma was observed in 40 h at 37°C. TMZ conjugated with polymer had a half-life of 5–7 h, compared with 1.8 h for free TMZ. The strongest reduction of human brain and breast cancer cell viability was obtained by versions of TMZ nanoconjugates containing LLL and anti-TfR antibody. TMZ-resistant cancer cell lines were sensitive to TMZ nanoconjugate treatment.
TMZ-polymer nanoconjugates entered the tumor cells by receptor-mediated endocytosis, effectively reduced cancer cell viability, and can potentially be used for targeted tumor treatment.
anti-TfR mAb; nanoconjugate; pH-dependent membrane disruption; polymalic acid; targeted drug delivery; temozolomide
Traditional cancer therapy can be successful in destroying tumors, but can also cause dangerous side effects. Therefore, many targeted therapies are in development. The transferrin receptor (TfR) functions in cellular iron uptake through its interaction with transferrin. This receptor is an attractive molecule for the targeted therapy of cancer since it is upregulated on the surface of many cancer types and is efficiently internalized. This receptor can be targeted in two ways: 1) for the delivery of therapeutic molecules into malignant cells or 2) to block the natural function of the receptor leading directly to cancer cell death.
Scope of review
In the present article we discuss the strategies used to target the TfR for the delivery of therapeutic agents into cancer cells. We provide a summary of the vast types of anti-cancer drugs that have been delivered into cancer cells employing a variety of receptor binding molecules including Tf, anti-TfR antibodies, or TfR-binding peptides alone or in combination with carrier molecules including nanoparticles and viruses.
Targeting the TfR has been shown to be effective in delivering many different therapeutic agents and causing cytotoxic effects in cancer cells in vitro and in vivo.
The extensive use of TfR for targeted therapy attests to the versatility of targeting this receptor for therapeutic purposes against malignant cells. More advances in this area are expected to further improve the therapeutic potential of targeting the TfR for cancer therapy leading to an increase in the number of clinical trials of molecules targeting this receptor.
transferrin receptor; CD71; cancer; nanoparticles; immunotoxins; delivery; conjugates; gene therapy
PMLA nanoparticles with diameters of 150–250 nm are prepared, and their hydrolytic degradation is studied under physiological conditions. Degradation occurs by hydrolysis of the side chain methyl ester followed by cleavage of the main-chain ester group with methanol and L-malic acid as the final degradation products. No alteration of the cell viability is found after 1 h of incubation, but toxicity increases significantly after 3 d, probably due to the noxious effect of the released methanol. Anticancer drugs temozolomide and doxorubicin are encapsulated in the NPs with 20–40% efficiency, and their release is monitored using in vitro essays. Temozolomide is fully liberated within several hours, whereas doxorubicin is steadily released from the particles over a period of 1 month.
anticancer DDS; biodegradable nanoparticles; polymalates; poly(malic acid)
Design of an efficient site-specific drug delivery system based on degradable functional polymers still remains challenging. In this work, we synthesized and characterized three degradable functional polyesters belonging to the poly(malic acid) family: the poly(benzyl malate) (PMLABe), the poly(ethylene glycol)-b-poly(benzyl malate) (PEG42-b-PMLABe), the biotin-poly(ethylene glycol)-bpoly( benzyl malate) (Biot-PEG62-PMLABe). Starting from these building blocks, we were able to prepare the corresponding well-defined degradable functional nanoparticles whose toxicity was evaluated in vitro on normal and cancer cell lines. Results have evidenced that the prepared nanoparticles did not show any significant cytotoxicity even at high concentrations. A model anti-cancer drug (doxorubicin, Dox) or a fluorescent probe (1,1′-dioctadecyl-3,3,3′,3′-tetramethylindodicarbocyanine, DiD oil) has been encapsulated into PMLABe, PEG42-PMLABe or Biot-PEG62-PMLABe based nanoparticles in order to evaluate, respectively, the in vitro cytotoxicity of Dox-loaded nanoparticles on normal and cancer cell lines and the ligand (biotin) effect on cellular uptake in vitro using mmt 060562 cell line. Dox-loaded PMLABe, PEG42-PMLABe or Biot-PEG62-PMLABe nanoparticles showed an in vitro cytotoxicity similar to that of free Dox. Moreover, the DiD oil loaded Biot-PEG62-PMLABe based nanoparticles showed a better in vitro cellular uptake than ligand-free DiD oil loaded nanoparticles. Both results evidence the great potential of such degradable functional poly(malic acid) derivatives for the design of highly efficient site-specific anti-cancer nanovectors.
Degradable polyesters; Poly(malic acid) derivatives; Degradable functional nanoparticles; In vitro cytotoxicity; In vitro cellular uptake
We have previously shown that laminin-8, a vascular basement membrane component, was over-expressed in human glioblastomas multiforme and their adjacent tissues compared to normal brain. Increased laminin-8 correlated with shorter glioblastoma recurrence time and poor patient survival making it a potential marker for glioblastoma diagnostics and prediction of disease outcome. However, laminin-8 therapeutic potential was unknown because the technology of blocking the expression of multi-chain complex proteins was not yet developed. To inhibit the expression of laminin-8 constituents in glioblastoma in vitro and in vivo, we used Polycefin, a bioconjugate drug delivery system based on slime-mold Physarum polycephalum-derived poly(malic acid). It carries an attached transferrin receptor antibody to target tumor cells and to deliver two conjugated morpholino antisense oligonucleotides against laminin-8 α4 and β1 chains. Polycefin efficiently inhibited the expression of both laminin-8 chains by cultured glioblastoma cells. Intracranial Polycefin treatment of human U87MG glioblastoma-bearing nude rats reduced incorporation of both tumor-derived laminin-8 chains into vascular basement membranes. Polycefin was thus able to simultaneously inhibit the expression of two different chains of a complex protein. The treatment also significantly reduced tumor microvessel density (p < 0.001) and area (p < 0.001) and increased animal survival (p < 0.0004). These data suggest that laminin-8 may be important for glioblastoma angiogenesis. Polycefin, a versatile nanoscale drug delivery system, was suitable for in vivo delivery of two antisense oligonucleotides to brain tumor cells causing a reduction of glioblastoma angiogenesis and an increase of animal survival. This system may hold promise for future clinical applications.
Tumor angiogenesis; Glioma; Laminin-8; Multiple drug targeting; Poly(malic acid)
A new prototype of nanoconjugate, Polycefin, was synthesized for targeted delivery of antisense oligonucleotides and monoclonal antibodies to brain tumors. The macromolecular carrier contains: 1. biodegradable, nonimmunogenic, nontoxic β-poly(l-malic acid) of microbial origin; 2. Morpholino antisense oligonucleotides targeting laminin α4 and β1 chains of laminin-8, which is specifically overexpressed in glial brain tumors; 3. monoclonal anti-transferrin receptor antibody for specific tissue targeting; 4. oligonucleotide releasing disulfide units; 5. l-valine containing, pH-sensitive membrane disrupting unit(s), 6. protective poly(ethylene glycol); 7. a fluorescent dye (optional). Highly purified modules were conjugated directly with N-hydroxysuccinimidyl ester-activated β-poly-(l-malic acid) at pendant carboxyl groups or at thiol containing spacers via thioether and disulfide bonds. Products were chemically validated by physical, chemical, and functional tests. In vitro experiments using two human glioma cell lines U87MG and T98G demonstrated that Polycefin was delivered into the tumor cells by a receptor-mediated endocytosis mechanism and was able to inhibit the synthesis of laminin-8 α4 and β1 chains at the same time. Inhibition of laminin-8 expression was in agreement with the designed endosomal membrane disruption and drug releasing activity. In vivo imaging showed the accumulation of intravenously injected Polycefin in brain tumor tissue via the antibody-targeted transferrin receptor-mediated endosomal pathway in addition to a less efficient mechanism known for high molecular mass biopolymers as enhanced permeability and retention effect. Polycefin was nontoxic to normal and tumor astrocytes in a wide range of concentrations, accumulated in brain tumor, and could be used for specific targeting of several biomarkers simultaneously.
New copolyesters derived from poly(β,L-malic acid) have been designed to serve as nanoconjugate platforms in drug delivery. 25% and 50% methylated derivatives (coPMLA-Me25H75 and coPMLA-Me50H50) with absolute molecular weights of 32 600 Da and 33 100 Da, hydrodynamic diameters of 3.0 nm and 5.2 nm and zeta potential of −15mV and −8.25mV, respectively, were found to destabilize membranes of liposomes at pH 5.0 and pH 7.5 at concentrations above 0.05mg/mL. The copolymers were soluble in PBS (half life of 40 hours) and in human plasma (half life of 15 hours) but they showed tendency to aggregate at high levels of methylation. Fluorescence-labeled copolymers were internalized into MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells with increased efficiency for the higher methylated copolymer. Viability of cultured brain and breast cancer cell lines indicated moderate toxicity that increased with methylation. The conclusion of the present work is that partially methylated poly(β,L-malic acid) copolyesters are suitable as nanoconjugate platforms for drug delivery.
Biodegradable nanopolymers are believed to offer great potential in cancer therapy. Here, we report the characterization of a novel, targeted, nanobiopolymeric conjugate based on biodegradable, nontoxic, and nonimmunogenic PMLA [poly(β-l-malic acid)]. The PMLA nanoplatform was synthesized for repetitive systemic treatments of HER2/neu-positive human breast tumors in a xenogeneic mouse model. Various moieties were covalently attached to PMLA, including a combination of morpholino antisense oligonucleotides (AON) directed against HER2/neu mRNA, to block new HER2/neu receptor synthesis; anti-HER2/neu antibody trastuzumab (Herceptin), to target breast cancer cells and inhibit receptor activity simultaneously; and transferrin receptor antibody, to target the tumor vasculature and mediate delivery of the nanobiopolymer through the host endothelial system. The results of the study showed that the lead drug tested significantly inhibited the growth of HER2/neu-positive breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo by enhanced apoptosis and inhibition of HER2/neu receptor signaling with suppression of Akt phosphorylation. In vivo imaging analysis and confocal microscopy demonstrated selective accumulation of the nanodrug in tumor cells via an active delivery mechanism. Systemic treatment of human breast tumor-bearing nude mice resulted in more than 90% inhibition of tumor growth and tumor regression, as compared with partial (50%) tumor growth inhibition in mice treated with trastuzumab or AON, either free or attached to PMLA. Our findings offer a preclinical proof of concept for use of the PMLA nanoplatform for combination cancer therapy.
Treatment options for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) are generally limited to cytotoxic chemotherapy. Recently, anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) therapy has been introduced for TNBC patients. We engineered a novel nanobioconjugate based on a poly(β-L-malic acid) (PMLA) nanoplatform for TNBC treatment. The nanobioconjugate carries anti-tumor nucleosome-specific monoclonal antibody (mAb) 2C5 to target breast cancer cells, anti-mouse transferrin receptor (TfR) antibody for drug delivery through the host endothelial system, and Morpholino antisense oligonucleotide (AON) to inhibit EGFR synthesis. The nanobioconjugates variants were: (1) P (BioPolymer) with AON, 2C5 and anti-TfR for tumor endothelial and cancer cell targeting, and EGFR suppression (P/AON/2C5/TfR), and (2) P with AON and 2C5 (P/AON/2C5). Controls included (3) P with 2C5 but without AON (P/2C5), (4) PBS, and (5) P with PEG and leucine ester (LOEt) for endosomal escape (P/mPEG/LOEt). Drugs were injected intravenously to MDA-MB-468 TNBC bearing mice. Tissue accumulation of injected nanobioconjugates labeled with Alexa Fluor 680 was examined by Xenogen IVIS 200 (live imaging) and confocal microscopy of tissue sections. Levels of EGFR, phosphorylated and total Akt in tumor samples were detected by western blotting.
In vitro western blot showed that the leading nanobioconjugate P/AON/2C5/TfR inhibited EGFR synthesis significantly better than naked AON. In vivo imaging revealed that 2C5 increased drug-tumor accumulation. Significant tumor growth inhibition was observed in mice treated with the lead nanobioconjugate (1) [P = 0.03 vs. controls; P<0.05 vs. nanobioconjugate variant (2)]. Lead nanobioconjugate (1) also showed stronger inhibition of EGFR expression and Akt phosphorylation than other treatments. Treatment of TNBC with the new nanobioconjugate results in tumor growth arrest by inhibiting EGFR and its downstream signaling intermediate, phosphorylated Akt. The nanobioconjugate represents a new generation of nanodrugs for treatment of TNBC.
Doxorubicin (DOX) is currently used in cancer chemotherapy to treat many tumors and shows improved delivery, reduced toxicity and higher treatment efficacy when being part of nanoscale delivery systems. However, a major drawback remains its toxicity to healthy tissue and the development of multi-drug resistance during prolonged treatment. This is why in our work we aimed to improve DOX delivery and reduce the toxicity by chemical conjugation with a new nanoplatform based on polymalic acid. For delivery into recipient cancer cells, DOX was conjugated via pH-sensitive hydrazone linkage along with polyethylene glycol (PEG) to a biodegradable, non-toxic and non-immunogenic nanoconjugate platform: poly(β-l-malic acid) (PMLA). DOX-nanoconjugates were found stable under physiological conditions and shown to successfully inhibit in vitro cancer cell growth of several invasive breast carcinoma cell lines such as MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB- 468 and of primary glioma cell lines such as U87MG and U251.
polymalic acid; doxorubicin; nanoconjugate; pH-controlled hydrazine linkage; brain and breast cancer
Nanoconjugates are emerging as promising drug-delivery vehicles because of their multimodular structure enabling them to actively target discrete cells, pass through biological barriers and simultaneously carry multiple drugs of various chemical nature. Nanoconjugates have matured from simple devices to multifunctional, biodegradable, nontoxic and nonimmunogenic constructs, capable of delivering synergistically functioning drugs in vivo. This review mainly concerns the Polycefin family of natural-derived polymeric drug-delivery devices as an example. This type of vehicle is built by hierarchic conjugation of functional groups onto the backbone of poly(malic acid), an aliphatic polyester obtained from the microorganism Physarum polycephalum. Particular Polycefin variants target human brain and breast tumors implanted into animals specifically and actively and could be detected easily by noninvasive imaging analysis. Delivery of antisense oligonucleotides to a tumor-specific angiogenic marker using Polycefin resulted in significant inhibition of tumor angiogenesis and increase of animal survival.
biodegradable; brain cancer; breast cancer; imaging analysis; multiple antibodies; multiple drug delivery; multitargeting; Polycefin; poly(malic acid); tumor angiogenesis
A new prototype of polymer-derived drug delivery system, the nanoconjugate Polycefin, was tested for its ability to accumulate in tumors based on enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect and receptor mediated endocytosis. Polycefin was synthesized for targeted delivery of Morpholino antisense oligonucleotides into certain tumors. It consists of units that are covalently conjugated with poly(β-L-malic acid) (Mw 50,000, Mw/Mn 1.3) highly purified from cultures of myxomycete Physarum polycephalum. The units are active in endosomal uptake, disruption of endosomal membranes, oligonucleotide release in the cytoplasm, and protection against enzymatic degradation in the vascular system. The polymer is biodegradable, non-immunogenic and non-toxic. Polycefin was also coupled with AlexaFluor 680 C2-maleimide dye for in vivo detection.
Nude mice received subcutaneous injections of MDA-MB 468 human breast cancer cells into the left posterior mid-dorsum or intracranial injections of human glioma cell line U87MG. Polycefin at concentration of 2.5 mg/kg was injected via the tail vein. In vivo fluorescence tumor imaging was performed at different time points, 0–180 min up to 24 h after the drug injection. The custom-made macro-illumination imaging MISTI system was used to examine the in vivo drug accumulation in animals bearing human breast and brain tumors. In breast tumors the fluorescence signal in large blood vessels and in the tumor increased rapidly until 60 min and remained in the tumor at a level 6 times higher than in non-tumor tissue (180 min) (p < 0.003). In brain tumors drug accumulated selectively in 24 h without any detectable signal in non-tumor areas. The results of live imaging were corroborated histologically by fluorescence microscopic examination of various organs. In addition to tumors, only kidney and liver showed some fluorescent signal. © 2007 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Brain glioma; Breast cancer; EPR effect; Fluorescence imaging; Drug delivery system; Poly(malic acid)
Tumor-specific targeting using achievements of nanotechnology is a mainstay of increasing efficacy of anti-tumor drugs. To improve drug targeting we covalently conjugated for the first time two different monoclonal antibodies, an anti-mouse transferrin receptor antibody and a mouse autoimmune anti-nucleosome antibody 2C5, onto the drug delivery nanoplatform, poly(β-L-malic acid). The active anti-tumor drug components attached to the same carrier molecule were antisense oligonucleotides to vascular protein laminin-8. The resulting drug, a new Polycefin variant, was administered intravenously into glioma-bearing xenogeneic animals. The drug delivery system was targeted across mouse endothelial system by the anti-mouse transferring receptor antibody and to the tumor cell surface by the anti-nucleosome antibody 2C5. The targeting efficacies of the Polycefin variants bearing either two antibodies or each single antibody were compared in vitro and in vivo. ELISA confirmed the co-existence of two antibodies on the same nanoplatform molecule and their functional activities. Fluorescence imaging analysis after 24 h of intravenous injection demonstrated significantly higher tumor accumulation of Polycefin variants with the tandem configuration of antibodies than with single antibodies. The results suggest improved efficacy for tandem configuration of antibodies than for single configurations carried by a drug delivery vehicle.
Enhanced tumor targeting; Antibody tandem configuration; Nanobiopolymer; Brain tumor; Poly(β-L-malic acid)
Certain laminins of vascular basement membranes have been identified in human breast tumors and brain gliomas that share the same β1 chain. These laminins are new carcinoma angiogenic markers and might represent potential targets for antiangiogenic therapy.