Synergistic cytotoxicity of the poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor ABT-888 and temozolomide in dual-drug targeted magnetic nanoparticles

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Background & Aims:

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is associated with a poor prognosis because of a lack of effective treatment options. The objective of this study was to examine a new strategy for HCC treatment, namely the use of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP-1) inhibitor (ABT-888) together with Temozolomide (TMZ) incorporated onto magnetic nanoparticles.


Magnetic Fe3O4/Fe cores were encapsulated within a silica shell to facilitate the simultaneous incorporation of ABT-888 and TMZ. In vitro tests were performed with HepG2, Hep3B and PLC-PRF-5 liver tumoural cell lines and with WRL-68 liver non-tumoural cells.


The magnetic nanocarriers were loaded simultaneously with ABT-888 and TMZ. High stability and extended release were achieved in culture medium. Confocal microscopy images showed that drug-loaded particles were uptaken and accumulated into the cytoplasm of liver tumoural cells, inducing the following effects: G2/M cell cycle arrest (P < 0.05), accumulation of DNA damage (P < 0.05), mitochondrial depolarization (P < 0.01), reduction in BCL-xL, FOS, JUND gene expression (P < 0.05), PARP-1 fragmentation, Caspase-3 activation and apoptotic cell death (P < 0.05). Interestingly, drugs loaded onto nanoparticles exhibited better efficiency than free drugs (cell death triggered by drug delivery nanosystem: 53.5% vs. 34.5% by free drugs, P = 0.01).


These magnetic nanocompounds are able to incorporate both drugs simultaneously, enter the tumour cells and release them. ABT-888/TMZ/NPs decrease the transcription of key genes involved in tumour survival and induce apoptotic cell death in a more effective manner than is achieved by free drugs.

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