Synergistic inhibition of migration and invasion of breast cancer cells by dual docetaxel/quercetin-loaded nanoparticles via Akt/MMP-9 pathway

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Metastasis impedes the successful chemotherapy for breast cancer. In this study, an Akt inhibitor (quercetin, Qu) was co-delivered with a chemotherapeutic agent (docetaxel, DTX) by using hyaluronic acid (HA)-modified nanoparticles (NPs) as vectors to block metastasis. Dual DTX/Qu-loaded HA/polylactic-co-glycolic acid–polyethyleneimine NPs (PP-HA/NPs) were prepared through a modified emulsion solvent evaporation technique. The particle size of PP-HA/NPs with narrow polydispersity was 209.8 ± 10.8 nm. Wound healing assay revealed that Qu co-delivery and HA modification elicited synergistic inhibitory effects on cell motility. The downregulation of p-Akt and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) expression contributed to the significant inhibition of cell migration and invasion with inhibition rates of 95.6% and 99.3%, respectively. Further studies indicated that PP-HA/NPs could be efficiently uptaken by 4T1 breast cancer cells and could further induce cytotoxicity, decrease colony formation and promote cell apoptosis. Biodistribution assay demonstrated PP-HA/NPs also enhanced drug accumulation in the tumor and lungs and predicted that PP-HA/NPs could be employed as an effective therapy for primary tumor and pulmonary metastasis. Therefore, PP-HA/NPs could be a promising delivery system to treat metastatic breast cancer effectively.

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