Research Summary: Efficacy, Safety and Anticancer Activity of Protein Nanoparticle-Based Delivery of Doxorubicin through Intravenous Administration in Rats


Background and Aims

Doxorubicin is a potent anticancer drug and a major limiting factor that hinders therapeutic use as its high levels of systemic circulation often associated with various off-target effects, particularly cardiotoxicity. The present study focuses on evaluation of the efficacy of doxorubicin when it is loaded into the protein nanoparticles and delivered intravenously in rats bearing Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The proteins selected as carrier were Apotransferrin and Lactoferrin, since the receptors for these two proteins are known to be over expressed on cancer cells due to their iron transport capacity.


Doxorubicin loaded apotransferrin (Apodoxonano) and lactoferrin nanoparticles (Lactodoxonano) were prepared by sol-oil chemistry. HCC in the rats was induced by 100 mg/l of diethylnitrosamine (DENA) in drinking water for 8 weeks. Rats received 5 doses of 2 mg/kg drug equivalent nanoparticles through intravenous administration. Pharmacokinetics and toxicity of nanoformulations was evaluated in healthy rats and anticancer activity was studied in DENA treated rats. The anticancer activity was evaluated through counting of the liver nodules, H & E analysis and by estimating the expression levels of angiogenic and antitumor markers.


In rats treated with nanoformulations, the numbers of liver nodules were found to be significantly reduced. They showed highest drug accumulation in liver (22.4 and 19.5 µg/g). Both nanoformulations showed higher localization compared to doxorubicin (Doxo) when delivered in the absence of a carrier. Higher amounts of Doxo (195 µg/g) were removed through kidney, while Apodoxonano and Lactodoxonano showed only a minimal amount of removal (<40 µg/g), suggesting the extended bioavailability of Doxo when delivered through nanoformulation. Safety analysis shows minimal cardiotoxicity due to lower drug accumulation in heart in the case of nanoformulation.


Drug delivery through nanoformulations not only minimizes the cardiotoxicity of doxorubicin but also enhances the efficacy and bioavailability of the drug in a target-specific manner.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 21-December-2012

Author(s): Golla K., Cherukuvada B., Ahmed F., Kondapi A.


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