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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2009 Jan;328(1):321-30. doi: 10.1124/jpet.108.141200. Epub 2008 Oct 23.

Improved pharmacokinetics and efficacy of a highly stable nanoliposomal vinorelbine.

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  • 1Hermes Biosciences, Inc., 61 Airport Blvd., Suite D, South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA.


Effective liposomal formulations of vinorelbine (5' nor-anhydro-vinblastine; VRL) have been elusive due to vinorelbine's hydrophobic structure and resulting difficulty in stabilizing the drug inside the nanocarrier. Triethylammonium salts of several polyanionic trapping agents were used initially to prepare minimally pegylated nanoliposomal vinorelbine formulations with a wide range of drug release rates. Sulfate, poly(phosphate), and sucrose octasulfate were used to stabilize vinorelbine intraliposomally while in circulation, with varying degrees of effectiveness. The release rate of vinorelbine from the liposomal carrier was affected by both the chemical nature of the trapping agent and the resulting drug-to-lipid ratio, with liposomes prepared using sucrose octasulfate displaying the longest half-life in circulation (9.4 h) and in vivo retention in the nanoparticle (t(1/2) = 27.2 h). Efficacy was considerably improved in both a human colon carcinoma (HT-29) and a murine (C-26) colon carcinoma model when vinorelbine was stably encapsulated in liposomes using triethylammonium sucrose octasulfate. Early difficulties in preparing highly pegylated formulations were later overcome by substituting a neutral distearoylglycerol anchor for the more commonly used anionic distearoylphosphatidylethanolamine anchor. The new pegylated nanoliposomal vinorelbine displayed high encapsulation efficiency and in vivo drug retention, and it was highly active against human breast and lung tumor xenografts. Acute toxicity of the drug in immunocompetent mice slightly decreased upon encapsulation in liposomes, with a maximum tolerated dose of 17.5 mg VRL/kg for free vinorelbine and 23.8 mg VRL/kg for nanoliposomal vinorelbine. Our results demonstrate that a highly active, stable, and long-circulating liposomal vinorelbine can be prepared and warrants further study in the treatment of cancer.

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