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J Hepatol. 2005 May;42(5):736-43.

Increase of doxorubicin sensitivity by doxorubicin-loading into nanoparticles for hepatocellular carcinoma cells in vitro and in vivo.

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  • 1INSERM Unit 271, 151 Cours Albert Thomas, 69424 Lyon Cedex 03, France.



Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is known to be chemoresistant to anticancer drugs due to the multidrug resistant (MDR) transporters expression. Here, we compared in vitro and in vivo the anti-tumor efficacy of doxorubicin-loaded polyisohexylcyanoacrylate nanoparticles (PIHCA-Dox) versus free doxorubicin (Dox). These nanoparticles are known to overcome the MDR phenotype.


We first determined in vitro the 50% inhibition concentration (IC(50)) of these drugs on different human hepatoma cell lines. Secondly, the efficacy of the drugs in vivo was determined on the X/myc transgenic murine model of HCC by histological counting of apoptotic tumorous hepatocytes and by TUNEL labeling. We characterized by semi-quantitative RT-PCR the MDR-related gene (mdr1, mdr3, mrp1) expression pattern in this model.


In vitro, IC(50) was reduced with PIHCA-Dox versus Dox for Huh7 (1.7-fold reduction; P<0.001), HepaRG (4.5-fold reduction; P<0.01), HepG2 (1.5-fold reduction; P<0.001), and HepG2.2.15 (1.5-fold reduction; P=0.059). In vivo, HCC in transgenic mice overexpressed the mdr1 and mdr3 genes and the antitumor drugs efficacy was greatly enhanced after injection of PIHCA-Dox (9.0+/-5.0%; n=15) versus Dox (4.6+/-3.3%; n=13; P=0.01) for apoptotic bodies count.


These promising data showing a higher anti-tumor efficacy on HCC of PIHCA-Dox versus Dox, warrant further studies in both animals and humans.

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