To achieve tumor-selective drug delivery, various nanocarriers have been explored using either passive or active targeting strategies. Despite the great number of studies published annually in the field, only nanocarriers using approved excipients reach the clinical stage. In our study, two classic nanoscale formulations, nanoemulsion (NE) and liposome (Lipo) were selected for the encapsulation of lycobetaine (LBT). To improve the lipid solubility of LBT, oleic acid (OA) was used to complex (LBT-OA) with lycobetaine (LBT). Besides, PEGylated lecithin was used to enhance the circulation time. The release behaviors of LBT from non-PEGylated and PEGylated NE and Lipo were compared. PEGylated LBT-OA loaded Lipo (LBT-OA-PEG-Lipo) exhibited a sustained release rate pattern, and in vivo pharmacokinetic profiles showed the extended circulation compared nanoemlusions. Besides, LBT-OA-PEG-Lipo showed an enhanced anti-tumor effect in the mice xenograft lung carcinoma model. Moreover, a multi-target peptide nRGD was co-administered as a therapeutic adjuvant with LBT-OA loaded formulations, which demonstrated improved tumor penetration and enhanced extravasation of formulations. Also, co-administration of nRGD significantly improved the in vivo antitumor efficacy of different formulations, likely due to the depletion of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). Thus, LBT-OA-PEG-Lipo + nRGD may represent a promising strategy for cancer chemotherapy against lung carcinoma.Graphical abstract
LBT-OA-PEG-Lipo exhibited a sustained release rate pattern in vitro, and a significantly extended circulation compared with NE in vivo. Moreover, a multi-target peptide nRGD was co-administered with LBT-OA loaded formulations, LBT-OA-PEG-Lipo + nRGD exhibited a higher accumulation in tumor tissue, a TAMs-depletion capability and a stronger anti-lung cancer activity.