Entrapment into nanoemulsions potentiates the anticancer activity of tocotrienols against the highly malignant (+SA) mouse mammary epithelial cells

J Nanosci Nanotechnol. 2014 May;14(5):4002-5. doi: 10.1166/jnn.2014.8843.


The highly malignant +SA mouse mammary epithelial cells were used as the model cell line over the years to establish the anticancer activity of tocotrienols. Tocotrienols, however, have poor oral bioavailability and were therefore entrapped into parenteral nanoemulsions for parenteral administration. The objective of this work was to test whether the activity of tocotrienols in lipid nanoemulsions against the +SA cells was retained. A secondary objective was to test whether stabilizing the nanoemulsions with poloxamer or sodium oleate would affect their activity. Nanoemulsions were found to be significantly more potent than tocotrienol/albumin conjugate. The IC50 values of the poloxamer and sodium oleate nanoemulsions were 3 and 6 microM, respectively, whereas the IC50 value of the conjugate was 10 microM. The antiproliferative activity of the nanoemulsions was also found to inversely correlate with particle size. No activity was observed with nanoemulsions loaded with alpha-tocopherol or vehicle, which confirmed the cytotoxic activity of tocotrienols and the potential use of nanoemulsions in cancer therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Chromatography, Reverse-Phase
  • Emulsions*
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Female
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Nanostructures*
  • Tocotrienols / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Emulsions
  • Tocotrienols