β-Lapachone and Paclitaxel Combination Micelles with Improved Drug Encapsulation and Therapeutic Synergy as Novel Nanotherapeutics for NQO1-Targeted Cancer Therapy

Ling Zhang, Zhen Chen, Kuan Yang, Chun Liu, Jinming Gao, Feng Qian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

β-Lapachone (LPC) is a novel cytotoxic agent that is bioactivated by NADP(H): quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1), an enzyme elevated in a variety of tumors, such as non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, and breast cancer. Despite its unique mechanism of action, its clinical evaluation has been largely hindered by low water solubility, short blood half-life, and narrow therapeutic window. Although encapsulation into poly(ethylene glycol)-b-poly(D,L-lactic acid) (PEG-PLA) micelles could modestly improve its solubility and prolong its half-life, the extremely fast intrinsic crystallization tendency of LPC prevents drug loading higher than ∼2 wt %. The physical stability of the LPC-loaded micelles is also far from satisfactory for further development. In this study, we demonstrate that paclitaxel (PTX), a front-line drug for many cancers, can provide two functions when coencapsulated together with LPC in the PEG-PLA micelles; first, as a strong crystallization inhibitor for LPC, thus to significantly increase the LPC encapsulation efficiency in the micelle from 11.7 ± 2.4% to 100.7 ± 2.2%. The total drug loading efficiency of both PTX and LPC in the combination polymeric micelle reached 100.3 ± 3.0%, and the drug loading density reached 33.2 ± 1.0%. Second, the combination of LPC/PTX demonstrates strong synergistic cytotoxicity effect against the NQO1 overexpressing cancer cells, including A549 NSCLC cells, and several pancreatic cancer cells (combination index <1). In vitro drug release study showed that LPC was released faster than PTX either in phosphate-buffered saline (PH = 7.4) or in 1 M sodium salicylate, which agrees with the desired dosing sequence of the two drugs to exert synergistic pharmacologic effect at different cell checkpoints. The PEG-PLA micelles coloaded with LPC and PTX offer a novel nanotherapeutic, with high drug loading, sufficient physical stability, and biological synergy to increase drug delivery efficiency and optimize the therapeutic window for NOQ1-targeted therapy of cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3999-4010
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Volume12
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 28 2015

Keywords

  • NSCLC
  • crystallization
  • pancreatic cancer
  • physical interaction
  • polymeric micelles
  • therapeutic synergy
  • β-lapachone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'β-Lapachone and Paclitaxel Combination Micelles with Improved Drug Encapsulation and Therapeutic Synergy as Novel Nanotherapeutics for NQO1-Targeted Cancer Therapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this