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Mol Pharm. 2015 Aug 3;12(8):2811-22. doi: 10.1021/mp500754r. Epub 2015 Jul 1.

Co-Eradication of Breast Cancer Cells and Cancer Stem Cells by Cross-Linked Multilamellar Liposomes Enhances Tumor Treatment.

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†Department of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90089, United States.
‡Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90089, United States.
§Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90089, United States.


The therapeutic limitations of conventional chemotherapeutic drugs have emerged as a challenge for breast cancer therapy; these shortcomings are likely due, at least in part, to the presence of the cancer stem cells (CSCs). Salinomycin, a polyether antibiotic isolated from Streptomyces albus, has been shown to selectively inhibit cancer stem cells; however, its clinical application has been hindered by the drug's hydrophobility, which limits the available administration routes. In this paper, a novel drug delivery system, cross-linked multilamellar liposomal vesicles (cMLVs), was optimized to allow for the codelivery of salinomycin (Sal) and doxorubicin (Dox), targeting both CSCs and breast cancer cells. The results show that the cMLV particles encapsulating different drugs have similar sizes with high encapsulation efficiencies (>80%) for both Dox and Sal. Dox and Sal were released from the particles in a sustained manner, indicating the stability of the cMLVs. Moreover, the inhibition of cMLV(Dox+Sal) against breast cancer cells was stronger than either single-drug treatment. The efficient targeting of cMLV(Dox+Sal) to CSCs was validated through in vitro experiments using breast cancer stem cell markers. In accordance with the in vitro combination treatment, in vivo breast tumor suppression by cMLV(Dox+Sal) was 2-fold more effective than single-drug cMLV treatment or treatment with the combination of cMLV(Dox) and cMLV(Sal). Thus, this study demonstrates that cMLVs represent a novel drug delivery system that can serve as a potential platform for combination therapy, allowing codelivery of an anticancer agent and a CSC inhibitor for the elimination of both breast cancer cells and cancer stem cells.


breast cancer stem cells (CSC); colocalized delivery; cross-linked multilamellar liposomal vesicle; doxorubicin; nanomedicine; salinomycin

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