Encapsulation of a new quinoxaline derivative in PLGA alters the pattern of its anticancer potency and induces apoptosis

  • Entsar A. SaadEmail author
  • Heba M. Waly
Original Article



Searching for novel anticancer therapeutics which are effective and primarily less toxic is urgently needed. Drug encapsulation provides more protection of drug within the body with more stable drug circulation levels thus avoiding drug peak-related adverse effects. We aimed first to develop and characterize a nano-particulate drug delivery system using poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) for the new compound N-butylpyridoquinoxaline 1,4-dioxide (NBPQD), and second to investigate its anticancer effect and the probable mechanism.


NBPQD–PLGA nano-particles were prepared and their shape, size, zeta potential, encapsulation efficiency (EE%), drug loading (DL%), drug release, anticancer activity against six human cancer cell lines, DNA binding ability, and flow cytometric analyses of apoptosis, cell cycle and caspase-3 activity were investigated.

Results and conclusions

NBPQD–PLGA nano-particles were spherical with diameter around 54 nm. Zeta potential, EE%, and DL% values were − 20.4 mV, 88% and 21.8%, respectively. Nano-particles exhibited higher marked anticancer activities (much lower IC50s) and changed the anticancer potency pattern towards all the studied cell lines compared to free NBPQD with superior potency against colorectal carcinoma (HCT-116, IC50 of 12.2 µg/mL). NBPQD–PLGA acts by induction of cancer cell apoptosis through oxidative stress, DNA damage, and activating a caspase-3 signaling pathway.


Quinoxaline Cytotoxicity DNA damage Cell cycle Caspase-3 Anticancer 



Authors would like to thank Prof. Salem A. Habib and Prof. Mohamed A. Waly, Chemistry Department, Faculty of Science, Damietta University, Egypt, for their valuable help.



Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Author Entsar A. Saad declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author Heba M. Waly declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chemistry Department, Faculty of ScienceDamietta UniversityDamiettaEgypt

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