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Cancer Lett. 2013 Jul 10;335(1):191-200. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2013.02.020. Epub 2013 Feb 16.

Octa-arginine-modified pegylated liposomal doxorubicin: an effective treatment strategy for non-small cell lung cancer.

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  • 1Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and Nanomedicine, 360 Huntington Avenue, 140 The Fenway, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The present study aims to evaluate the efficacy of octa-arginine (R8)-modified pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (R8-PLD) for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer, for which the primary treatment modality currently consists of surgery and radiotherapy. Cell-penetrating peptide R8 modification of Doxorubicin-(Dox)-loaded liposomes was performed by post-insertion of an R8-conjugated amphiphilic PEG-PE copolymer (R8-PEG-DOPE) into the liposomal lipid bilayer. In vitro analysis with the non-small cell lung cancer cell line, A549 confirmed the efficient cellular accumulation of Dox, delivered by R8-PLD compared to PLD. It led to the early initiation of apoptosis and a 9-fold higher level of the apoptotic regulator, caspase 3/7 (9.24±0.34) compared to PLD (1.07±0.19) at Dox concentration of 100 μg/mL. The treatment of A549 monolayers with R8-PLD increased the level of cell death marker lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) secretion (1.2±0.1 for PLD and 2.3±0.1 for R8-PLD at Dox concentration of 100 μg/mL) confirming higher cytotoxicity of R8-PLD than PLD, which was ineffective under the same treatment regimen (cell viability 90±6% in PLD vs. 45±2% in R8-PLD after 24h). R8-PLD had significantly higher penetration into the hypoxic A549 tumor spheroids compared to PLD. R8-PLD induced greater level of apoptosis to A549 tumor xenograft and dramatic inhibition of tumor volume and tumor weight reduction. The R8-PLD treated tumor lysate had a elevated caspase 3/7 expression than with R8-PLD treatment. This suggested system improved the delivery efficiency of Dox in selected model of cancer which supports the potential usefulness of R8-PLD in cancer treatment, lung cancer in particular.

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