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Enhanced and Prolonged Antitumor Effect of Salinomycin-Loaded Gelatinase-Responsive Nanoparticles via Targeted Drug Delivery and Inhibition of Cervical Cancer Stem Cells

Authors Wang Q, Liu F, Wang L, Xie C, Wu P, Du S, Zhou S, Sun Z, Liu Q, Yu L, Liu B, Li R

Received 15 October 2019

Accepted for publication 26 January 2020

Published 26 February 2020 Volume 2020:15 Pages 1283—1295


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Mian Wang

Qin Wang,1,* Fangcen Liu,2,* Lifeng Wang,1 Chen Xie,3 Puyuan Wu,1 Shiyao Du,1 Shujuan Zhou,1 Zhichen Sun,1 Qin Liu,1 Lixia Yu,1 Baorui Liu,1 Rutian Li1

1The Comprehensive Cancer Centre of Drum Tower Hospital, Medical School of Nanjing University, Clinical Cancer Institute of Nanjing University, Nanjing 210008, People’s Republic of China; 2The Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital, Clinical College of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, People’s Republic of China; 3Key Laboratory for Organic Electronics and Information Displays, Institute of Advanced Materials (IAM), Jiangsu National Synergetic Innovation Center for Advanced Materials (SICAM), Nanjing University of Posts & Telecommunications, Nanjing 210023, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Rutian Li; Baorui Liu
The Comprehensive Cancer Centre of Drum Tower Hospital, Medical School of Nanjing University, Clinical Cancer Institute of Nanjing University, 321 Zhongshan Road, Nanjing 210008, People’s Republic of China
Tel +86-25-83107081
Fax +86-25-83317016

Background: Cervical cancer stem cells (CCSCs) represent a subpopulation of tumor cells that possess self-renewal capacity and numerous intrinsic mechanisms of resistance to conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy. These cells play a crucial role in relapse and metastasis of cervical cancer. Therefore, eradication of CCSCs is the primary objective in cervical cancer therapy. Salinomycin (Sal) is an agent used for the elimination of cancer stem cells (CSCs); however, the occurrence of several side effects hinders its application. Nanoscale drug-delivery systems offer great promise for the diagnosis and treatment of tumors. These systems can be used to reduce the side effects of Sal and improve clinical benefit.
Methods: Sal-loaded polyethylene glycol-peptide-polycaprolactone nanoparticles (Sal NPs) were fabricated under mild and non-toxic conditions. The real-time biodistribution of Sal NPs was investigated through non-invasive near-infrared fluorescent imaging. The efficacy of tumor growth inhibition by Sal NPs was evaluated using tumor xenografts in nude mice. Flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry, and Western blotting were used to detect the apoptosis of CSCs after treatment with Sal NPs. Immunohistochemistry and Western blotting were used to examine epithelial–mesenchymal transition (epithelial interstitial transformation) signal-related molecules.
Results: Sal NPs exhibited antitumor efficacy against cervical cancers by inducing apoptosis of CCSCs and inhibiting the epithelial–mesenchymal transition pathway. Besides, tumor pieces resected from Sal NP-treated mice showed decreased reseeding ability and growth speed, further demonstrating the significant inhibitory ability of Sal NPs against CSCs. Moreover, owing to targeted delivery based on the gelatinase-responsive strategy, Sal NPs was more effective and tolerable than free Sal.
Conclusion: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to show that CCSC-targeted Sal NPs provide a potential approach to selectively target and efficiently eradicate CCSCs. This renders them a promising strategy to improve the therapeutic effect against cervical cancer.

Keywords: nanoparticles, salinomycin, tumor-targeted delivery, cancer stem cells, epithelial interstitial transformation

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