Preparation of PEGylated liposomes incorporating lipophilic lomeguatrib derivatives for the sensitization of chemo-resistant gliomas

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Abstract

Liposomal delivery is a well-established approach to increase the therapeutic index of drugs, mainly in the field of cancer chemotherapy. Here, we report the preparation and characterization of a new liposomal formulation of a derivative of lomeguatrib, a potent O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) inactivator. The drug had been tested in clinical trials to revert chemoresistance, but was associated with a low therapeutic index. A series of lomeguatrib conjugates with distinct alkyl chain lengths – i.e. C12, C14, C16, and C18 – was synthesized, and the MGMT depleting activity as well as cytotoxicity were determined on relevant mouse and human glioma cell lines. Drug-containing liposomes were prepared and characterized in terms of loading and in vitro release kinetics. The lipophilic lomeguatrib conjugates did not exert cytotoxic effects at 5 μM in the mouse glioma cell line and exhibited a similar MGMT depleting activity pattern as lomeguatrib. Overall, drug loading could be improved by up to 50-fold with the lipophilic conjugates, and the slowest leakage was achieved with the C18 derivative. The present data show the applicability of lipophilic lomeguatrib derivatization for incorporation into liposomes, and identify the C18 derivative as the lead compound for in vivo studies.

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