In vivocomparative study of distinct polymeric architectures bearing a combination of paclitaxel and doxorubicin at a synergistic ratio

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Nowadays, combination therapy became a standard in oncology. In this study, we compare the activity of two polymeric carriers bearing a combination of the anticancer drugs paclitaxel (PTX) and doxorubicin (DOX), which differ mainly in their architecture and supramolecular assembly. Drugs were covalently bound to a linear polymer, polyglutamic acid (PGA) or to a dendritic scaffold, polyglycerol (PG) decorated with poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG), forming PGA-PTX-DOX and PG-PTX-bz-DOX-PEG, respectively. We explored the relationship between the polymeric architectures and their performance with the aim to augment the pharmacological benefits of releasing both drugs simultaneously at the tumor site at a synergistic ratio. We recently designed and characterized a PGA-PTX-DOX conjugate. Here, we describe the synthesis and characterization of PG dendritic scaffold bearing the combination of PTX and DOX. The performance of both conjugates was evaluated in a murine model of mammary adenocarcinoma in immunocompetent mice, to investigate whether the activity of the treatments is affected by the immune system. Drug conjugation to a nano-sized polymer enabled preferred tumor accumulation by extravasation-dependent targeting, making use of the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect. Both PGA-PTX-DOX and PG-PTX-bz-DOX-PEG nano-sized conjugates exhibited superior anti-tumor efficacy and safety compared to the combination of the free drugs, at equivalent concentrations. However, while PGA-PTX-DOX was more efficient than a mixture of each drug conjugated to a separate PGA chain, as was previously shown, PG-PTX-bz-DOX-PEG had similar activity to the mixture of the PG-PTX-bz-PEG and PG-DOX-PEG conjugates. Our results show that both conjugates are potential candidates as precision combination nanomedicines for the treatment of breast cancer.

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