Anti-tumor effect via passive anti-angiogenesis of PEGylated liposomes encapsulating doxorubicin in drug resistant tumors

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Graphical abstractThe PEGylated liposomal (PEG-LP) Doxorubicin, PEG-LP (DOX), with a diameter of around 100 nm, accumulates in tumors via the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect, and is used clinically for the treatment of several types of cancer. However, there are a number of tumor types that are resistant to DOX. We report herein on a unique anti-tumor effect of PEG-LP (DOX) in a DOX-resistant tumor xenograft model. PEG-LP (DOX) failed to suppress the growth of the DOX-resistant tumors (ex. non-small cell lung cancer, H69AR; renal cell carcinoma, OSRC-2) as observed in the xenograft model. Unexpectedly, tumor growth was suppressed in a DOX-resistant breast cancer (MDA-MB-231) xenograft model. We investigated the mechanism by which PEG-LP (DOX) responses differ in different drug resistant tumors. In hyperpermeable OSRC-2 tumors, PEG-LP was distributed to deep tumor tissues, where it delivers DOX to drug-resistant tumor cells. In contrast, extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules such as collagen, pericytes, cancer-associated fibroblasts render MDA-MB-231 tumors hypopermeable, which limits the extent of the penetration and distribution of PEG-LP, thereby enhancing the delivery of DOX to the vicinity of the tumor vasculature. Therefore, a remarkable anti-angiogenic effect with a preferential suppression in tumor growth is achieved. Based on the above findings, it appears that the response of PEG-LP (DOX) to drug-resistant tumors results from differences in the tumor microenvironment.

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