Development of transferrin-bearing vesicles encapsulating aspirin for cancer therapy

J Liposome Res. 2020 Jun;30(2):174-181. doi: 10.1080/08982104.2019.1614054. Epub 2019 Jun 5.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Aspirin / administration & dosage*
  • Aspirin / chemistry
  • Aspirin / pharmacology
  • Capsules / chemistry
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry*
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Drug Development*
  • Drug Liberation
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Molecular Structure
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Transferrin / chemistry*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Capsules
  • Drug Carriers
  • Transferrin
  • Aspirin