A novel nanoparticulate formulation of arsenic trioxide with enhanced therapeutic efficacy in a murine model of breast cancer

Clin Cancer Res. 2010 Jul 15;16(14):3607-17. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-0068. Epub 2010 Jun 2.


Purpose: The clinical success of arsenic trioxide (As(2)O(3)) in hematologic malignancies has not been replicated in solid tumors due to poor pharmacokinetics and dose-limiting toxicity. We have developed a novel nanoparticulate formulation of As(2)O(3) encapsulated in liposomal vesicles or "nanobins" [(NB(Ni,As)] to overcome these hurdles. We postulated that nanobin encapsulation of As(2)O(3) would improve its therapeutic index against clinically aggressive solid tumors, such as triple-negative breast carcinomas.

Experimental design: The cytotoxicity of NB(Ni,As), the empty nanobin, and free As(2)O(3) was evaluated against a panel of human breast cancer cell lines. The plasma pharmacokinetics of NB(Ni,As) and free As(2)O(3) were compared in rats to measure drug exposure. In addition, the antitumor activity of these agents was evaluated in an orthotopic model of human triple-negative breast cancer.

Results: The NB(Ni,As) agent was much less cytotoxic in vitro than free As(2)O(3) against a panel of human breast cancer cell lines. In contrast, NB(Ni,As) dramatically potentiated the therapeutic efficacy of As(2)O(3) in vivo in an orthotopic model of triple-negative breast cancer. Reduced plasma clearance, enhanced tumor uptake, and induction of tumor cell apoptosis were observed for NB(Ni,As).

Conclusions: Nanobin encapsulation of As(2)O(3) improves the pharmacokinetics and antitumor efficacy of this cytotoxic agent in vivo. Our findings demonstrate the therapeutic potential of this nanoscale agent and provide a foundation for future clinical studies in breast cancer and other solid tumors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Arsenic Trioxide
  • Arsenicals / administration & dosage
  • Arsenicals / chemistry
  • Arsenicals / pharmacology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Mice
  • Nanoparticles / administration & dosage
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Oxides / administration & dosage
  • Oxides / chemistry
  • Oxides / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Arsenicals
  • Oxides
  • Arsenic Trioxide