In this study, a transferrin (Tf)-conjugated polymeric nanoparticle was developed for the targeted delivery of the chemotherapeutic agent doxorubicin (Dox) in order to overcome multi-drug resistance in cancer treatment. Our objective was to improve Dox delivery for producing significant antitumor efficacy in Dox-resistant (R) breast cancer cell lines with minimum toxicity to healthy cells. The results of our experiments revealed that Dox was successfully loaded inside a transferrin (Tf)-conjugated polymeric nanoparticle composed of poloxamer 407 (F127) and 123 (P123) (Dox/F127&P123-Tf), which produced nanosized particles (~90 nm) with a low polydispersity index (~0.23). The accelerated and controlled release profiles of Dox from the nanoparticles were characterized in acidic and physiological pH and Dox/F127&P123-Tf enhanced Dox cytotoxicity in OVCAR-3, MDA-MB-231, and MDA-MB-231(R) cell lines through induction of cellular apoptosis. Moreover, Dox/F127&P123-Tf inhibited cell migration and altered the cell cycle patterns of different cancer cells. In vivo study in MDA-MB-231(R) tumor-bearing mice demonstrated enhanced delivery of nanoparticles to the tumor site when coated in a targeting moiety. Therefore, Dox/F127&P123-Tf has been tailored, using the principles of nanotherapeutics, to overcome drug-resistant chemotherapy.
Keywords: doxorubicin; doxorubicin-resistant cancer; polymeric nanoparticles; transferrin.