Improved therapeutic activity of folate-targeted liposomal doxorubicin in folate receptor-expressing tumor models
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- Gabizon, A., Tzemach, D., Gorin, J. et al. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol (2010) 66: 43. doi:10.1007/s00280-009-1132-4
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The folate receptor (FR) is overexpressed in a broad spectrum of malignant tumors and represents an attractive target for selective delivery of anti-cancer agents to FR-expressing tumors. Targeting liposomes to the FR has been proposed as a way to enhance the effects of liposome-based chemotherapy.
Folate–polyethylene glycol–distearoyl–phosphatidyl–ethanolamine conjugate was inserted into pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD). The therapeutic activity of folate-targeted (FT-PLD) and non-targeted (PLD) pegylated liposomal doxorubicin was tested in two human tumor models (KB, KB-V) and in one mouse ascitic tumor model (FR-expressing J6456) by the i.v. systemic route in all models, and by the i.p. intracavitary route in the ascitic tumor model only.
Consistent with previous studies, PLD was clearly superior to free doxorubicin in all tumor models. When targeted and non-targeted liposome formulations were compared, FT-PLD was more effective than PLD in the KB and KB-V xenograft models, and in the J6456 intra-cavitary therapy model. The therapeutic effect was dose-dependent in the KB model and schedule-dependent in the J6456 intra-cavitary therapy model. In some experiments, toxic deaths aggravated by folate-depleted diet were a major confounding factor. In a non-FR expressing J6456 model, FT-PLD was as active as PLD indicating that its activity is not limited to FR-expressing tumors.
Folate-targeting confers a significant albeit modest therapeutic improvement to PLD in FR-expressing tumor models, which appears particularly valuable in intracavitary therapy. The potential clinical added value of this approach has yet to be determined.