Self-Amplified pH/ROS Dual-Responsive Co-Delivery Nano-System with Chemo-Photodynamic Combination Therapy in Hepatic Carcinoma Treatment


Int J Nanomedicine. 2024 Apr 24;19:3737-3751. doi: 10.2147/IJN.S453199. eCollection 2024.


BACKGROUND: Chemo-photodynamic combination therapy has demonstrated significant potential in the treatment of cancer. Triptolide (TPL), a naturally derived anticancer agent, when combined with the photosensitizer Chlorin e6 (Ce6), has shown to provide enhanced anti-tumor benefits. However, the development of stimuli-responsive nanovehicles for the co-delivery of TPL and Ce6 could further enhance the efficacy of this combination therapy.

METHODS: In this study, we synthesized a pH/ROS dual-responsive mPEG-TK-PBAE copolymer, which contains a pH-sensitive PBAE moiety and a ROS-sensitive thioketal (TK) linkage. Through a self-assembly process, TPL and Ce6 were successfully co-loaded into mPEG-TK-PBAE nanoparticles, hereafter referred to as TPL/Ce6 NPs. We evaluated the pH- and ROS-sensitive drug release and particle size changes. Furthermore, we investigated both the in vitro suppression of cellular proliferation and induction of apoptosis in HepG2 cells, as well as the in vivo anti-tumor efficacy of TPL/Ce6 NPs in H22 xenograft nude mice.

RESULTS: The mPEG-TK-PBAE copolymer was synthesized through a one-pot Michael-addition reaction and successfully co-encapsulated both TPL and Ce6 by self-assembly. Upon exposure to acid pH values and high ROS levels, the payloads in TPL/Ce6 NPs were rapidly released. Notably, the abundant ROS generated by the released Ce6 under laser irradiation further accelerated the degradation of the nanosystem, thereby amplifying the tumor microenvironment-responsive drug release and enhancing anticancer efficacy. Consequently, TPL/Ce6 NPs significantly increased PDT-induced oxidative stress and augmented TPL-induced apoptosis in HepG2 cells, leading to synergistic anticancer effects in vitro. Moreover, administering TPL/Ce6 NPs (containing 0.3 mg/kg of TPL and 4 mg/kg of Ce6) seven times, accompanied by 650 nm laser irradiation, efficiently inhibited tumor growth in H22 tumor-bearing mice, while exhibiting lower systemic toxicity.

CONCLUSION: Overall, we have developed a tumor microenvironment-responsive nanosystem for the co-delivery of TPL and Ce6, demonstrating amplified synergistic effects of chemo-photodynamic therapy (chemo-PDT) for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treatment.

PMID:38699684 | PMC:PMC11063489 | DOI:10.2147/IJN.S453199