NIR-light and GSH activated cytosolic p65-shRNA delivery for precise treatment of metastatic cancer

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Despite advances in cancer therapy, metastasis remains the dominate reason for cancer-related mortality. Herein, a novel, hybrid nanocomplex, RDG/shRNA, with tumor-targeting and dual stimuli responsive properties is described for the effective treatment of metastatic cancer. This multimodal therapeutic system was prepared by complexing RDG nanovectors with p65-shRNA, an anti-NF-κB agent, via the electrostatic interactions between negatively charged shRNA and the cationic DSPEI displayed on the surface of the nanovectors. Cytosolic release of shRNA from the complex is achieved by dual-stimulation from NIR laser irradiation and high intracellular GSH concentrations, resulting in effective gene silencing of metastatic 4T1 breast cancer cells, thereby inhibiting cell proliferation and invasion. More importantly, the nanocomplex undergoes significant intratumoral accumulation due to the EPR effect and RGD-mediated endocytosis. In combination with localized NIR laser irradiation, the hybrid complex could effectively inhibit primary breast tumor growth and almost completely suppresses distant metastasis, significantly improving the therapeutic efficacy of the RDG/shRNA complex. Consequently, this NIR-light and GSH responsive complex with tumor targeting capabilities and cytosolic shRNA release is a promising nanoplatform for precise treatment of metastatic cancer.Graphical abstractHighlightsTumor metastasis remains the dominate reason for cancer-related mortality.A novel multimodal nanocomplex, RDG/shRNA, was rationally designed for the effective treatment of metastatic cancer.NIR laser irradiation and GSH concentrations would trigger release of the shRNA into the cytosol.This multimodal nanotherapeutic system holds great promise for the precise treatment of metastatic cancer.

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