Nanoparticle formulation improves doxorubicin efficacy by enhancing host antitumor immunity

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Strategies that enhance the host antitumor immune response promise to revolutionize cancer therapy. Optimally mobilizing the immune system will likely require a multi-pronged approach to overcome the resistance developed by tumors to therapy. Recently, it has become recognized that doxorubicin can contribute to re-establishing host antitumor immunity through the generation of immunogenic cell death. However, the potential for delivery strategies to further enhance the immunological effects of doxorubicin has not been adequately examined. We report herein that Chimeric Polypeptide Doxorubicin (CP-Dox), a nanoparticle formulation of doxorubicin, enhances antitumor immunity. Compared to free doxorubicin, a single intravenous (IV) administration of CP-Dox at the maximum tolerated dose increases the infiltration of leukocytes into the tumor, slowing tumor growth and preventing metastasis in poorly immunogenic 4T1 mammary carcinoma. We demonstrate that the full efficacy of CP-Dox is dependent on CD8 + T cells and IFN-γ. CP-dox treatment also repolarized intratumoral myeloid cells towards an antitumor phenotype. These findings demonstrate that a nanoparticle drug is distinct from the free drug in its ability to productively stimulate antitumor immunity. Our study strongly argues for the use of antitumor immunotherapies combined with nanoparticle-packaged chemotherapy.Graphical abstractModel of CP-Dox's enhancement of the host antitumor immune response in 4T1 mammary carcinoma. CP-Dox treatment generates inflammatory chemokines and IFN-γ. Chemokine production leads to the recruitment of leukocytes including CD8 + T cells and inflammatory monocytes. CD8 + T cells, in the presence of increased IFN-γ, contribute to controlling the primary tumor and preventing metastasis.

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