Comparison of the pharmacological and biological properties of HPMA copolymer-pirarubicin conjugates: A single-chain copolymer conjugate and its biodegradable tandem-diblock copolymer conjugate

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In this study, we compared the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect, toxicity, and therapeutic effect of the conjugate of the linear polymer poly(N-(2-hydroxypropyl)methacrylamide) (HPMA) with pirarubicin with an Mw below the renal threshold (39 g/mol) (named LINEAR) and the disulfide-linked tandem-polymeric dimer of the poly(HPMA)-pirarubicin conjugate with an Mw above the renal threshold (93 g/mol) (named DIBLOCK). The DIBLOCK conjugate, which was susceptible to reductive degradation, showed both a better EPR effect (tumor delivery) (2.5 times greater at 24 h) and a prolonged plasma half-life. In addition, DIBLOCK had a better antitumor effect, as judged by percent survival, than did LINEAR (80% vs 65% at 150 days), without any apparent toxicity in an S180 tumor model. However, the LD50 value of LINEAR was slightly higher than that of DIBLOCK (50 mg/kg vs 37.5 mg/kg, respectively). DIBLOCK required a longer time than LINEAR to reach maximum accumulation in the tumor. DIBLOCK also showed a greater time-dependent increase in the concentration in the tumor compared with the plasma concentration.Graphical abstract

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