Tumor-penetrating peptide enhances transcytosis of silicasome-based chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is almost uniformly fatal; however, some improvement in overall survival has been achieved with the introduction of nanocarriers that deliver irinotecan or paclitaxel. Although it is generally assumed that nanocarriers rely principally on abnormal leaky vasculature for tumor access, a transcytosis transport pathway that is regulated by neuropilin-1 (NRP-1) has recently been reported. NRP-1–mediated transport can be triggered by the cyclic tumor-penetrating peptide iRGD. In a KRAS-induced orthotopic PDAC model, coadministration of iRGD enhanced the uptake of an irinotecan-loaded silicasome carrier that comprises lipid bilayer–coated mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNPs); this uptake resulted in enhanced survival and markedly reduced metastasis. Further, ultrastructural imaging of the treated tumors revealed that iRGD coadministration induced a vesicular transport pathway that carried Au-labeled silicacomes from the blood vessel lumen to a perinuclear site within cancer cells. iRGD-mediated enhancement of silicasome uptake was also observed in patient-derived xenografts, commensurate with the level of NRP-1 expression on tumor blood vessels. These results demonstrate that iRGD enhances the efficacy of irinotecan-loaded silicasome–based therapy and may be a suitable adjuvant in nanoparticle-based treatments for PDAC.