Dual-effect liposomes encapsulated with doxorubicin and chlorin e6 augment the therapeutic effect of tumor treatment

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Background and Objective:

Long circulating doxorubicin (Dox)-loaded PEGylated liposomes are clinically safer than the free form due to the significant reduction of cardiac toxicity. However, the therapeutic efficacy of the PEGylated liposome could further be improved if poor diffusivity and slow drug release of the liposome in tumor interstitium can be overcome. In this study, a dual-effect liposome triggered by photodynamic effect was developed to improve the therapeutic efficacy of Dox-loaded PEGylated liposomes.

Materials and Methods:

Dox and chlorin e6 (Ce6) were co-encapsulated in PEGylated liposomes (named as PL-Dox-Ce6). To induce the drug release, photodynamic effect was triggered by the light irradiation of a 662 nm diode laser. The cellular distribution of Dox and Ce6 was examined under confocal microscope. The in vitro and in vivo cytotoxicity of PL-Dox-Ce6 was determined via the colony formation assay and the synergistic C26 tumor model, respectively.


The cellular distribution of PL-Dox-Ce6 was in the cytoplasmic area; while under light irradiation, Dox was co-localized with nuclear staining positive signals. The cellular cytotoxicity of PL-Dox-Ce6 was significantly higher than the controls including liposomes encapsulating either Dox (PL-Dox) or Ce6 (PL-Ce6). The in vivo treatment efficacy of PL-Dox-Ce6 determined in the C26 tumor model reveals a significant therapeutic effect compared to that of PL-Ce6 and PL-Dox alone or in combination.


This study indicates that this dual-effect PEGylated liposome could provide clinical advantages in the combination regimen of photodynamic therapy and chemotherapy. Lasers Surg. Med. 47:77–87, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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