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Efficacy of Targeted ECO/miR-200c Nanoparticles for Modulating Tumor Microenvironment and Treating Triple Negative Breast Cancer as Non-invasively Monitored by MR Molecular Imaging



To investigate the effectiveness of targeted ECO/miR-200c in modulating tumor microenvironment and treating triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) using non-invasive magnetic resonance molecular imaging (MRMI) of extradomain B fibronectin (EDB-FN) with a targeted MRI contrast agent.


MDA-MB-231 and Hs578T TNBC cells were transfected with RGD-PEG-ECO/miR-200c. Invasive and migratory potential was evaluated using transwell, scratch wound, and spheroid formation assays. Athymic nude mice bearing orthotopic MDA-MB-231 and Hs578T xenografts were treated with weekly i.v. injection of RGD-PEG-ECO/miR-200c nanoparticles at 1.0 mg/kg/week RNA for 6 weeks. MRMI of EDB-FN was performed using a targeted contrast agent MT218 [ZD2-N3-Gd(DO3A)] on a 3 T MRS 3000 scanner. T1-weighted images were acquired following intravenous injection of MT218 at dose of 0.1 mmol/kg using a fast spin echo axial sequence with respiratory gating.


Systemic administration of RGD-PEG-ECO/miR-200c nanoparticles in mice bearing orthotopic TNBC xenografts significantly suppressed tumor progression without toxic side-effects. MRMI with MT218 revealed that the treatment significantly suppressed tumor proliferation as compared to the control. MRMI also showed that the miR-200c treatment altered tumor microenvironment by reducing EDB-FN expression, as evidenced by decreased contrast enhancement in both MDA-MB-231 and Hs578T tumors. The reduction of EDB-FN was confirmed by immunohistochemistry.


Targeted delivery of miR-200c with RGD-PEG-ECO/miR-200c nanoparticles effectively modulates tumor microenvironment and suppresses TNBC proliferation in animal models. MRMI of tumor EDB-FN expression is effective to non-invasively monitor tumor response and therapeutic efficacy of RGD-PEG-ECO/miR-200c nanoparticles in TNBC.

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Correspondence to Zheng-Rong Lu.

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Schilb, A.L., Ayat, N.R., Vaidya, A.M. et al. Efficacy of Targeted ECO/miR-200c Nanoparticles for Modulating Tumor Microenvironment and Treating Triple Negative Breast Cancer as Non-invasively Monitored by MR Molecular Imaging. Pharm Res 38, 1405–1418 (2021).

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Key Words

  • miR-200c
  • MRMI
  • targeted nanoparticles
  • tumor microenvironment
  • tumor response