We induced changes in the tumor microenvironment (TME) through the synergistic actions of two drugs used in breast cancer therapy. The anti-fibrotic drug silibinin (SLB) targets tumor-associated fibroblasts and exerts immune-mediated anti-cancer effects. IPI-549, an efficient and highly selective phosphoinositide-3-kinase-gamma (PI3Kγ) inhibitor, was applied to alter the balance of immunosuppressive cells by inhibiting PI3Kγ molecules; it also promotes anti-tumor immunity. We developed nanoparticle formulations to encapsulate both drugs into the targeting carrier aminoethyl anisamide-polyethylene glycol-polycaprolactone (AEAA-PEG-PCL) respectively. The drugs were intravenously delivered in mice and resulted in an increase in anti-tumor efficacy and apoptotic tumor tissue compared with either IPI-549 or SLB alone in 4T1 breast cancer cell-derived tumors. Furthermore, a significant reduction in regulatory T (Treg) cells and myeloid suppressor cells (MDSCs) was observed. A normalized TME structure was also observed, including angiogenesis suppression, antifibrotic effects and the inhibition of collagen formation in the tumor tissue, significantly enhancing the anti-tumor effects. In summary, this combination strategy may offer an alternative treatment for breast cancer.
Keywords: Breast cancer; IPI-549; Nanoparticle; Silibinin; Tumor microenvironment.
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