Purpose: In this study, pH-sensitive poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline)-poly(lactic acid)-poly(β-amino ester) (PEOz-PLA-PBAE) triblock copolymers were synthesized and were conjugated with an antimalaria drug artesunate (ART), for inhibition of a colon cancer xenograft model.
Methods: The as-prepared polymer prodrugs are tended to self-assemble into polymeric micelles in aqueous milieu, with PEOz segment as hydrophilic shell and PLA-PBAE segment as hydrophobic core.
Results: The pH sensitivity of the as-prepared copolymers was confirmed by acid-base titration with pKb values around 6.5. The drug-conjugated polymer micelles showed high stability for at least 96 h in PBS and 37°C, respectively. The as-prepared copolymer prodrugs showed high drug loading content, with 9.57%±1.24% of drug loading for PEOz-PLA-PBAE-ART4. The conjugated ART could be released in a sustained and pH-dependent manner, with 92% of released drug at pH 6.0 and 57% of drug released at pH 7.4, respectively. In addition, in vitro experiments showed higher inhibitory effect of the prodrugs on rodent CT-26 cells than that of free ART. Animal studies also demonstrated the enhanced inhibitory efficacy of PEOz-PLA-PBAE-ART2 micelles on the growth of rodent xenograft tumor.
Conclusion: The pH-responsive artesunate polymer prodrugs are promising candidates for colon cancer adjuvant therapy.
Keywords: artesunate; micelles; pH responsive; poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline); poly(β-amino ester); polymer prodrug.
© 2020 Hao et al.