A novel vascular-targeting peptide for gastric cancer delivers low-dose TNFα to normalize the blood vessels and improve the anti-cancer efficiency of 5-fluorouracil

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Various vascular-targeted agents fused with tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) have been shown to improve drug absorption into tumor tissues and enhance tumor vascular function. TCP-1 is a peptide selected through in vivo phage library biopanning against a mouse orthotopic colorectal cancer model and is a promising agent for drug delivery. This study further investigated the targeting ability of TCP-1 phage and peptide to blood vessels in an orthotopic gastric cancer model in mice and assessed the synergistic anti-cancer effect of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) with subnanogram TNFα targeted delivered by TCP-1 peptide. In vivo phage targeting assay and in vivo colocalization analysis were carried out to test the targeting ability of TCP-1 phage/peptide. A targeted therapy for improvement of the therapeutic efficacy of 5-FU and vascular function was performed through administration of TCP-1/TNFα fusion protein in this model. TCP-1 phage exhibited strong homing ability to the orthotopic gastric cancer after phage injection. Immunohistochemical staining suggested that and TCP-1 phage/TCP-1 peptide could colocalize with tumor vascular endothelial cells. TCP-1/TNFα combined with 5-FU was found to synergistically inhibit tumor growth, induce apoptosis and reduce cell proliferation without evident toxicity. Simultaneously, subnanogram TCP-1/TNFα treatment normalized tumor blood vessels. Targeted delivery of low-dose TNFα by TCP-1 peptide can potentially modulate the vascular function of gastric cancer and increase the drug delivery of chemotherapeutic drugs.

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