Cellular Oncology

, Volume 35, Issue 6, pp 451–460

Drug-targeting in combined cancer chemotherapy: tumor growth inhibition in mice by association of paclitaxel and etoposide with a cholesterol-rich nanoemulsion

  • Iara F. Kretzer
  • Durvanei A. Maria
  • Raul C. Maranhão
Original Paper



Lipid nanoemulsions (LDE) may be used as carriers of paclitaxel (PTX) and etoposide (ETP) to decrease toxicity and increase the therapeutic action of those drugs. The current study investigates the combined chemotherapy with PTX and ETP associated with LDE.


Four groups of 10–20 B16F10 melanoma-bearing mice were treated with LDE-PTX and LDE-ETP in combination (LDE-PTX + ETP), commercial PTX and ETP in combination (PTX + ETP), single LDE-PTX, and single LDE-ETP. PTX and ETX doses were 9 μmol/kg administered in three intraperitoneal injections on three alternate days. In two control groups mice were treated with saline solution or LDE alone. Tumor growth, metastasis presence, cell-cycle distribution, blood cell counts and histological data were analyzed. Toxicity of all treatments was evaluated in mice without tumors.


Tumor growth inhibition was similarly strong in all treatment groups. However, there was a greater reduction in the number of animals bearing metastases in the LDE-PTX + ETP group (30 %) in comparison to the PTX + ETP group (82 %, p < 0.05). Reduction of cellular density, blood vessels and increase of collagen fibers in tumor tissues were observed in the LDE-PTX + ETP group but not in the PTX + ETP group, and in both groups reduced melanoma-related anemia and thrombocytosis were observed. Flow cytometric analysis suggested that LDE-PTX + ETP exhibited greater selectivity to neoplastic cells than PTX-ETP, showing arrest (65 %) in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle (p < 0.001). Toxicity manifested by weight loss and myelosuppression was markedly milder in the LDE-PTX + ETP than in the PTX + ETP group.


LDE-PTX + ETP combined drug-targeting therapy showed markedly superior anti-cancer properties and reduced toxicity compared to PTX + ETP.


Nanoparticles Drug-targeting Emulsions Cholesterol Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors Cancer treatment 


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Copyright information

© International Society for Cellular Oncology 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iara F. Kretzer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Durvanei A. Maria
    • 3
  • Raul C. Maranhão
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Lipid Metabolism Laboratory, the Heart Institute (INCOR) of the Medical School HospitalUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Faculty of Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Biochemistry and Biophysics LaboratoriesButantan InstituteSão PauloBrazil
  4. 4.Laboratório de Metabolismo de Lípides, Instituto do Coração (INCOR) do Hospital das Clínicas FMUSPUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil

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