Cabozantinib, a potent pan-tyrosine kinase inhibitor, has been reported to provide enhanced antitumor efficacy by simultaneously inhibiting both MET and VEGF pathways, which are critical to tumor angiogenesis, survival and migration. It's very poor water solubility prevents its administration by the intravenous route, which may be important in patients unable to take the drug orally. In this study, we developed an efficient PEG-lipid-based polymeric micelle formulation with enhanced drug solubility and stability for cabozantinib delivery. DSPE-PEG2000 micelles encapsulating cabozantinib were prepared by a thin-film rehydration method followed by a lyophilization process to generate the dry dosage form. The average hydrodynamic diameter of freshly prepared micelles was 11 nm with a narrow size distribution, and the dry micelle cake could be fully reconstituted by rehydration. Approximately 75% of the drug was encapsulated into the lyophilized cake, and a sustained drug release profile was observed in simulated normal physiological release medium. Compared with the free cabozantinib solution, the drug-loaded micelles displayed significantly enhanced intracellular accumulation and cytotoxicity in human glioblastoma cancer cells and non-small lung cancer cells. These results suggest that the micellar formulation of cabozantinib may serve as a promising nanocarrier in anticancer treatments.
Keywords: Cabozantinib; Cytotoxicity; DSPE-PEG2000; Lyophilization; Micellar solubilization; Sustained release.