Internalization and biodistribution of polymersomes into oral squamous cell carcinoma cells in vitro and in vivo

Nanomedicine (Lond). 2010 Sep;5(7):1025-36. doi: 10.2217/nnm.10.97.


The prognosis for oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is not improving despite advances in surgical treatment. As with many cancers, there is a need to deliver therapeutic agents with greater efficiency into OSCC to improve treatment and patient outcome. The development of polymersomes offers a novel way to deliver therapy directly into tumor cells. Here we examined the internalization and biodistribution of two different fluorescently labeled polymersome formulations; polyethylene oxide (PEO)-poly 2-(diisopropylamino)ethyl methacrylate (PDPA) and poly 2-(methacryloyloxy)ethyl phosphorylcholine (PMPC)-PDPA, into SCC4 OSCC cells in vitro and in vivo. In vitro SCC4 monolayers internalized PMPC-PDPA and PEO-PDPA at similar rates. However, in vivo PMPC-PDPA polymersomes penetrated deeper and were more widely dispersed in SCC4 tumors than PEO-PDPA polymersomes. In the liver and spleen PMPC-PDPA mainly accumulated in tissue macrophages. However, in tumors PMPC-PDPA was found extensively in the nucleus and cytoplasm of tumor cells as well as in tumor-associated macrophages. Use of PMPC-PDPA polymersomes may enhance polymersome-mediated antitumor therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Mouth Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology
  • Polymers / pharmacokinetics*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Polymers