Back to Journals » OncoTargets and Therapy » Volume 11

Apatinib-loaded lipid nanobubbles combined with ultrasound-targeted nanobubble destruction for synergistic treatment of HepG2 cells in vitro

Authors Tian Y, Liu Z, Zhang L, Zhang J, Han X, Wang Q, Cheng W

Received 11 April 2018

Accepted for publication 25 May 2018

Published 10 August 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 4785—4795


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Carlos E Vigil

Yuhang Tian,1,* Zhao Liu,1,* Lei Zhang,1 Jia Zhang,2 Xue Han,1 Qiucheng Wang,1 Wen Cheng1

1Department of Ultrasound, Harbin Medical University Cancer Hospital, Harbin 150080, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Microsystems and Microstructure Manufacturing, Ministry of Education, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150080, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Purpose: Apatinib, an oral small-molecule antiangiogenetic medicine, is used to treat patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. However, its systemic toxic side effects cannot be ignored. The ultrasound (US)-targeted nanobubble destruction technology can minimize systemic drug exposure and maximize therapeutic efficacy. The aim of this study was to develop novel GPC3-targeted and drug-loaded nanobubbles (NBs) and further assess the associated therapeutic effects on hepatocellular carcinoma cells in vitro.
Materials and methods: Apatinib-loaded NBs were prepared by a mechanical vibration method. GPC3, a liver tumor homing peptide, was coated onto the surface of apatinib-loaded NBs through biotin–avidin interactions to target liver cancer HepG2 cells. The effects of different treatment groups on cell proliferation, cell cycle, and apoptosis of HepG2 cells were tested.
Results: The NBs could achieve 68% of optimal drug encapsulation. In addition, ligand binding assays demonstrated that attachment of targeted NBs to human HepG2 liver cancer cells was highly efficient. Furthermore, cell proliferation assays indicated that the antiproliferative activities of GPC3-targeted and apatinib-loaded NBs in combination with US (1 MHz, 1 W/cm2, 30 s) were, respectively, 44.11%±2.84%, 57.09%±6.38%, and 67.51%±2.89% after 24, 48, and 72 h of treatment. Treatment with GPC3-targeted and apatinib-loaded NBs also resulted in a higher proportion of cells in the G1 phase compared with other treatment groups such as apatinib only and nontargeted apatinib-loaded NBs when US was utilized.
Conclusion: US-targeted and drug-loaded nanobubble destruction successfully achieved selective growth inhibition and apoptosis in HepG2 cells in vitro. Therefore, GPC3-targeted and apatinib-loaded NBs can be considered a novel chemotherapeutic approach for treating liver cancer in combination with US.

Keywords: ultrasound, apatinib, lipid nanobubble, liver cancer, GPC3, targeted delivery

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]