RON receptor tyrosine kinase as a target for delivery of chemodrugs by antibody directed pathway for cancer cell cytotoxicity

Mol Pharm. 2010 Apr 5;7(2):386-97. doi: 10.1021/mp900168v.


Overexpression of the RON receptor tyrosine kinase exists in various cancers and contributes to malignant progression. To validate RON as a targeting moiety for delivery of chemoagents for enhanced tumor cytotoxicity, immunoliposomes (IL) loaded with doxorubicin (Dox) were formulated followed by postinsertion of monoclonal antibodies Zt/g4, Zt/c1, or their Fab fragments specific to the RON extracellular domains. Flow cytometry analysis showed that Zt/g4 or Zt/c1-IL binds to cancer cells and causes RON internalization as evident in confocal analysis of intracellular fluorescence intensity. The antibody-directed IL uptake by cancer cells is in both dose and time-dependent manners. Studies of cytotoxicity of individual IL in vitro against colon or breast cancer cell lines revealed that Zt/g4 directed Dox-IL displayed increased cytotoxic activities with a significant reduction of IC(50) values. An average of 8-fold increases in cytotoxic efficiency was achieved among four cell lines tested. Moreover, Zt/g4 directed Dox-IL also displayed the effective killing of cancer cells that are insensitive to pegylated liposomal doxorubicin. The effect of Zt/c1-Dox-IL was not as strong as Zt/g4-Dox-IL, and only moderate activities were observed. IL coupled with the Fab fragments of Zt/g4 or Zt/c1 show moderate activities against cancer cells. The ineffectiveness seemed to be related to the weak activities of the Fab fragments in the induction of RON internalization, which resulted in reduced drug uptakes. We conclude that anti-RON antibody-directed drug delivery is effective for increased uptake of cytotoxic drugs. Antibody-based RON targeting could be developed into a potential therapeutic for treatment of malignant cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / chemistry*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Blotting, Western
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Colonic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Doxorubicin / chemistry
  • Doxorubicin / therapeutic use*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Liposomes / administration & dosage
  • Liposomes / chemistry*
  • Mice
  • Models, Theoretical
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Phosphorylation
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Liposomes
  • Doxorubicin
  • RON protein
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases