The majority of developed and approved anticancer nanomedicines have been designed to exploit the dogma of the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect, which is based on the leakiness of the tumor's blood vessels accompanied by impeded lymphatic drainage. However, the EPR effect has been under scrutiny recently because of its variable manifestation across tumor types and animal species and its poor translation to human cancer therapy. To facilitate the EPR effect, systemically injected NPs should overcome the obstacle of rapid recognition and elimination by the mononuclear phagocyte system (MPS). We hypothesized that circulating monocytes, major cells of the MPS that infiltrate the tumor, may serve as an alternative method for achieving increased tumor accumulation of NPs, independent of the EPR effect. We describe here the accumulation of liposomal quantum dots (LipQDs) designed for active delivery via monocytes, in comparison to LipQDs designed for passive delivery (via the EPR effect), following IV administration in a mammary carcinoma model. Hydrophilic QDs were synthesized and entrapped in functionalized liposomes, conferring passive ("stealth" NPs; PEGylated, neutral charge) and active (monocyte-mediated delivery; positively charged) properties by differing in their lipid composition, membrane PEGylation, and charge (positively, negatively, and neutrally charged). The various physicochemical parameters affecting the entrapment yield and optical stability were examined in vitro and in vivo. Biodistribution in the blood, various organs, and in the tumor was determined by the fluorescence intensity and Cd analyses. Following the treatment of animals (intact and mammary-carcinoma-bearing mice) with disparate formulations of LipQDs (differing by their lipid composition, neutrally and positively charged surfaces, and hydrophilic membrane), we demonstrate comparable tumor uptake of QDs delivered by the passive and the active routes (mainly by Ly-6Chi monocytes). Our findings suggest that entrapping QDs in nanosized liposomal formulations, prepared by a new facile method, imparts superior structural and optical stability and a suitable biodistribution profile leading to increased tumor uptake of fluorescently stable QDs.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
G.G. is grateful to the Woll Sisters and Brothers Chair in Cardiovascular Diseases. This research was supported in part by The Israel Science Foundation (G.G., Grant No. 1682/16).
© 2019 American Chemical Society.
- Quantum dots
- active delivery
- enhanced permeability and retention (EPR)
- mammary carcinoma