A novel liposomal Clodronate depletes tumor-associated macrophages in primary and metastatic melanoma: Anti-angiogenic and anti-tumor effects

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The depletion of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), involved in different stages of cancer development and progression, is an appealing strategy in cancer therapy.

We developed novel Clodronate-containing liposomes (Clo-Lipo-DOTAP) presenting physicochemical properties (size distribution, polydispersity index and Z-potential) suited for safe storage and injections.

In vitro, Clo-Lipo-DOTAP inhibited proliferation, reduced viability and induced apoptosis of a macrophage-like cell line in a dose- and time-dependent manner.

In proof of functionality experiments, Clo-Lipo-DOTAP depleted macrophages in a genetic mouse model of chronic hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma leading to a significant reduction of F4/80-positive cells in the liver and spleen of treated mice compared to PBS-treated controls. The number of granulocytes, B and T lymphocytes was not affected.

In B16/F10 subcutaneous melanoma-bearing mice, Clo-Lipo-DOTAP significantly reduced the volume of primary tumors (P < 0.001). Within the tumors, the expression F4/80 and α-SMA was significantly lowered. Plasma levels of IL-10, Mo KC, TNF-α, VEGF and PDGF-bb were statistically decreased. In B16/F10 lung metastatic melanoma model, treatment with Clo-Lipo-DOTAP significantly reduced the number of pulmonary nodules (P < 0.05). F4/80-positive cells and microvessel density were statistically decreased.

In conclusion, the depletion of TAMs in primary and metastatic melanoma presents anti-tumor efficacy via inhibition of angiogenesis and modulation of inflammation related cytokines.

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