Originally developed for the treatment of inflammatory disorders, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug aspirin was shown to have a preventive effect against cancer in the past decades. Most importantly, recent studies suggested that it might also provide a therapeutic benefit in the treatment of cancer in vitro. However, this drug failed to specifically reach tumors at a therapeutic concentration following intravenous administration, thus resulting in lack of efficacy on tumors. In this work, we demonstrated that aspirin could be formulated in transferrin-bearing vesicles and that this tumor-targeted formulation could lead to an increase in the anti-proliferative efficacy of the drug in three cancer cell lines in vitro. The in vitro therapeutic efficacy of aspirin was significantly improved when formulated in transferrin-bearing vesicles, by about 2-fold compared to that of drug solution. These results are promising and support the optimization of this delivery system to further improve its potential as a therapeutic tool in combination with other anti-cancer therapies.
Keywords: Aspirin; cancer therapy; drug delivery; transferrin; tumor targeting.