Styrene maleic acid copolymer-based micellar formation of temoporfin (SMA@ mTHPC) behaves as a nanoprobe for tumor-targeted photodynamic therapy with a superior safety

Jun Fang*, Shanghui Gao, Rayhanul Islam, Hinata Nema, Rina Yanagibashi, Niho Yoneda, Natsumi Watanabe, Yuki Yasuda, Naoki Nuita, Jian Rong Zhou, Kazumi Yokomizo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Tumor-targeted photodynamic therapy (PDT) using polymeric photosensitizers is a promising anticancer therapeutic strategy. Previously, we developed several polymeric nanoprobes for PDT using different polymers and PDT agents. In the study, we synthesized a styrene maleic acid copolymer (SMA) micelle encapsulating temoporfin (mTHPC) that is a clinically used PDT drug, SMA@mTHPC, with a hydrodynamic size of 98 nm, which showed high water solubility. SMA@mTHPC maintained stable micelle formation in physiological aqueous solutions including serum; however, the micelles could be disrupted in the presence of detergent (e.g., Tween 20) as well as lecithin, the major component of cell membrane, suggesting micelles will be destroyed and free mTHPC will be released during intracellular uptake. SMA@mTHPC showed a pH-dependent release profile, for which a constant release of ≈20% per day was found at pH 7.4, and much more release occurred at acidic pH (e.g., 6.5, 5.5), suggesting extensive release of free mTHPC could occur in the weak acidic environment of a tumor and further during internalization into tumor cells. In vitro cytotoxicity assay showed a lower cytotoxicity of SMA@mTHPC than free mTHPC; however, similar in vivo antitumor effects were observed by both SMA@mTHPC and free THPC. More importantly, severe side effects (e.g., body weight loss, death of the mice) were found during free mTHPC treatment, whereas no apparent side effects were observed for SMA@mTHPC. The superior safety profile of SMA@mTHPC was mostly due to its micelle formation and the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect-based tumor accumulation, as well as the tumor environment-responsive release properties. These findings suggested SMA@mTHPC may become a good candidate drug for targeted PDT with high safety.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1493
Number of pages15
JournalBiomedicines
Volume9
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • EPR effect
  • PDT nanoprobe
  • Polymeric micelles
  • Temoporfin
  • Tumor targeting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology

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