Just getting into cells is not enough: Mechanisms underlying 4-(N)-stearoyl gemcitabine solid lipid nanoparticle's ability to overcome gemcitabine resistance caused by RRM1 overexpression

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Abstract

Gemcitabine is a deoxycytidine analog that is widely used in the chemotherapy of many solid tumors. However, acquired tumor cell resistance often limits its use. Previously, we discovered that 4-(N)-stearoyl gemcitabine solid lipid nanoparticles (4-(N)-GemC18-SLNs) can overcome multiple acquired gemcitabine resistance mechanisms, including RRM1 overexpression. The present study was designed to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the 4-(N)-GemC18-SLNs' ability to overcome gemcitabine resistance. The 4-(N)-GemC18 in the 4-(N)-GemC18-SLNs entered tumor cells due to clathrin-mediated endocytosis of the 4-(N)-GemC18-SLNs into the lysosomes of the cells, whereas the 4-(N)-GemC18 alone in solution entered cells by diffusion. We substantiated that it is the way the 4-(N)-GemC18-SLNs deliver the 4-(N)-GemC18 into tumor cells that allows the gemcitabine hydrolyzed from the 4-(N)-GemC18 to be more efficiently converted into its active metabolite, gemcitabine triphosphate (dFdCTP), and thus more potent against gemcitabine-resistant tumor cells than 4-(N)-GemC18 or gemcitabine alone. Moreover, we also showed that the RRM1-overexpressing tumor cells were also cross-resistant to cytarabine, another nucleoside analog commonly used in cancer therapy, and 4-(N)-stearoyl cytarabine carried by solid lipid nanoparticles can also overcome the resistance. Therefore, formulating the long-chain fatty acid amide derivatives of nucleoside analogs into solid lipid nanoparticles may represent a platform technology to increase the antitumor activity of the nucleoside analogs and to overcome tumor cell resistance to them.

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