Research Summary: Characterization of 9-Nitrocamptothecin Liposomes: Anticancer Properties and Mechanisms on Hepatocellular Carcinoma In Vitro and In Vivo



Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third most common cause of cancer related mortality worldwide. 9-Nitrocamptothecin (9NC) is a potent topoisomerase-I inhibitor with strong anticancer effect. To increase the solubility and stability, we synthesized a novel 9NC loaded liposomes (9NC-LP) via incorporating 9NC into liposomes. In the present study, we determined the effects of 9NC and 9NC-LP on in vitro and in vivo, and the underlying mechanisms.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We first analyzed the characteristics of 9NC-LP. Then we compared the effects of 9NC and 9NC-LP on the proliferation and apoptosis of HepG2, Bel-7402, Hep3B and L02 cells in vitro. We also investigated their anticancer properties in nude mice bearing HCC xenograft in vivo. 9NC-LP has a uniform size (around 190 nm) and zeta potential (∼−11 mV), and exhibited a steady sustained-release pattern profile in vitro. Both 9NC and 9NC-LP could cause cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in a dose-dependent and p53-dependent manner. However, this effect was not ubiquitous in all cell lines. Exposure to 9NC-LP led to increased expression of p53, p21, p27, Bax, caspase-3, caspase-8, caspase-9 and apoptosis-inducing factor, mitochondrion-associated 1 and decreased expression of Bcl-2, cyclin E, cyclin A, Cdk2 and cyclin D1. Furthermore, 9NC-LP exhibited a more potent antiproliferative effect and less side effects in vivo. Western blot analysis of the xenograft tumors in nude mice showed similar changes in protein expression in vivo.


In conclusion, 9NC and 9NC-LP can inhibit HCC growth via cell cycle arrest and induction of apoptosis. 9NC-LP has a more potent anti-tumor effect and fewer side effects in vivo, which means it is a promising reagent for cancer therapy via intravenous administration.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 9-June-2011

Author(s): Zheng S., Chang S., Lu J., Chen Z., Xie L., Nie Y., He B., Zou S., Gu Z.


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