Dextran-based doxorubicin nanocarriers with improved tumor penetration

Sharon M Sagnella, Hien Thi Thu Duong, Alexander Macmillan, Cyrille Boyer, Renee Megan Whan, Joshua A McCarroll, Thomas Paul Davis, Maria Kavallaris

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98 Citations (Scopus)


Drug delivery systems with improved tumor penetration are valuable assets as anticancer agents. A dextran-based nanocarrier system with aldehyde functionalities capable of forming an acid labile linkage with the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin was developed. Aldehyde dextran nanocarriers (ald-dex-dox) demonstrated efficacy as delivery vehicles with an IC50 of 300 nM against two-dimensional (2D) SK-N-BE(2) monolayers. Confocal imaging showed that the ald-dex-dox nanocarriers were rapidly internalized by SK-N-BE(2) cells. Fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) analysis indicated that ald-dex-dox particles were internalized as intact complexes with the majority of the doxorubicin released from the particle four hours post uptake. Accumulation of the ald-dex-dox particles was significantly enhanced by 30 in the absence of glucose indicating a role for glucose and its receptors in their endocytosis. However, inhibition of clathrin dependent and independent endocytosis and macropinocytosis as well as membrane cholesterol depletion had no effect on ald-dex-dox particle accumulation. In three-dimensional (3D) SK-N-BE(2) tumor spheroids, which more closely resemble a solid tumor, the ald-dex-dox nanoparticles showed a significant improvement in efficacy over free doxorubicin, as evidenced by decreased spheroid outgrowth. Drug penetration studies in 3D demonstrated the ability of the ald-dex-dox nanocarriers to fully penetrate into a SK-N-BE(2) tumor spheroids, while doxorubicin only penetrates to a maximum distance of 50 ?M. The ald-dex-dox nanocarriers represent a promising therapeutic delivery system for the treatment of solid tumors due to their unique enhanced penetration ability combined with their improved efficacy over the parent drug in 3D.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262 - 275
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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