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Pulmonary-Affinity Paclitaxel Polymer Micelles in Response to Biological Functions of Ambroxol Enhance Therapeutic Effect on Lung Cancer

Authors He W, Xiao W, Zhang X, Sun Y, Chen Y, Chen Q, Fang X, Du S, Sha X

Received 2 September 2019

Accepted for publication 14 January 2020

Published 4 February 2020 Volume 2020:15 Pages 779—793


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 6

Editor who approved publication: Dr Linlin Sun

Wenxiu He,1,* Wenze Xiao,2,* Xiulei Zhang,1 Yali Sun,1 Yiting Chen,1 Qinyue Chen,1 Xiaoling Fang,1 Shilin Du,3 Xianyi Sha1,4

1Key Laboratory of Smart Drug Delivery, Ministry of Education, Center for Medical Research and Innovation, Shanghai Pudong Hospital, School of Pharmacy, Fudan University, Shanghai 201203, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Rheumatology, Shanghai Pudong Hospital, Fudan University Pudong Medical Center, Shanghai 201399, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Emergency Medicine, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, People’s Republic of China; 4The Institutes of Integrative Medicine of Fudan University, Shanghai 200040, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Xianyi Sha; Shilin Du Tel +86-21-51980072

Purpose: Cancer chemotherapy effect has been largely limited by cell autophagy and little drug accumulation at the action sites. Herein, we designed an intelligent strategy involving paclitaxel (PTX) polymer micelles in response to biological functions of ambroxol (Ax). The amphiphilic polymers polyethyleneglycol-polylactic acid (PEG-PLA) and Pluronic P105 were selected as nanocarriers to encapsulate PTX to form into lung affinity PEG-PLA/P105/PTX micelles. Ax which can up-regulate the secretion of pulmonary surfactant (PS) and inhibit autophagy was hired to change the microenvironment of the lung, thereby promoting the lung accumulation and increasing cell-killing sensitivity of the micelles.
Methods: The physical and chemical properties of the micelles were characterized including size, morphology, critical micellar concentration (CMC) and in vitro drug release behavior. The therapeutic effects of the combination regimen were characterized both in vitro and in vivo including study on Ax in promoting the secretion of pulmonary surfactant, in vitro cytotoxicity, cellular uptake, Western blotting, in vivo biodistribution, in vivo pharmacokinetics and in vivo antitumor efficacy.
Results: The PEG-PLA/P105/PTX micelles showed a particle size of 16.7 ± 0.5 nm, a nearly round shape, small CMC and sustained drug release property. Moreover, the in vitro results indicated that Ax could increase PS and LC3 protein secretion and enhance the cytotoxicity of PEG-PLA/P105/PTX micelles toward A549 cells. The in vivo results indicated that the combination therapeutic regimen could promote the micelles to distribute in lung and enhance the therapeutic effect on lung cancer.
Conclusion: This multifunctional approach of modulating the tumor microenvironment to enhance drug transportation and cell-killing sensitivity in the action sites might offer a new avenue for effective lung cancer treatment.

Keywords: lung cancer, pulmonary-affinity micelles, ambroxol, pulmonary microenvironment, combination therapy

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