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Heterogeneous response of different tumor cell lines to methotrexate-coupled nanoparticles in presence of hyperthermia

Authors Stapf M, Pömpner N, Teichgräber U, Hilger I

Received 13 August 2015

Accepted for publication 21 October 2015

Published 4 February 2016 Volume 2016:11 Pages 485—500


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 6

Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas Webster

Marcus Stapf,* Nadine Pömpner,* Ulf Teichgräber, Ingrid Hilger

Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Department of Experimental Radiology, Jena University Hospital, Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena, Germany

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Today, the therapeutic efficacy of cancer is restricted by the heterogeneity of the response of tumor cells to chemotherapeutic drugs. Since those therapies are also associated with severe side effects in nontarget organs, the application of drugs in combination with nanocarriers for targeted therapy has been suggested. Here, we sought to assess whether the coupling of methotrexate (MTX) to magnetic nanoparticles (MNP) could serve as a valuable tool to circumvent the heterogeneity of tumor cell response to MTX by the combined treatment with hyperthermia. To this end, we investigated five breast cancer cell lines of different origin and with different mutational statuses, as well as a bladder cancer cell line in terms of their response to exposure to MTX as a free drug or after its coupling to MNP as well as in presence/absence of hyperthermia. We also assessed whether the effects could be connected to the cell line-specific expression of proteins related to the uptake and efflux of MTX and MNP. Our results revealed a very heterogeneous and cell line-dependent response to an exposure with MTX-coupled MNP (MTX–MNP), which was almost comparable to the efficacy of free MTX in the same cell line. Moreover, a cell line-specific and preferential uptake of MTX–MNP compared with MNP alone was found (probably by receptor-mediated endocytosis), agreeing with the observed cytotoxic effects. Opposed to this, the expression pattern of several cell membrane transport proteins noted for MTX uptake and efflux was only by tendency in agreement with the cellular toxicity of MTX–MNP in different cell lines. Higher cytotoxic effects were achieved by exposing cells to a combination of MTX–MNP and hyperthermal treatment, compared with MTX or thermotherapy alone. However, the heterogeneity in the response of the tumor cell lines to MTX could not be completely abolished – even after its combination with MNP and/or hyperthermia – and the application of higher thermal dosages might be necessary.

Keywords: magnetic nanoparticles, SPION, in vitro, methotrexate, hyperthermia, breast cancer, bladder cancer

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