Antagonist G-targeted liposomes for improved delivery of anticancer drugs in small cell lung carcinoma

Int J Pharm. 2022 Jan 25:612:121380. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2021.121380. Epub 2021 Dec 13.


Ligand-mediated targeted liposomes have the potential to increase therapeutic efficacy of anticancer drugs. This work aimed to evaluate the ability of antagonist G, a peptide targeting agent capable of blocking the action of multiple neuropeptides, to selectivity improve targeting and internalization of liposomal formulations (long circulating liposomes, LCL, and stabilized antisense lipid particles containing ionizable amino lipid, SALP) to H69 and H82 small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) cell lines. Antagonist G-targeted LCL and SALP were prepared by two different methods (either by direct covalent linkage at activated PEG grafted onto the liposomal surface or by post-insertion of DSPE-PEG-antagonist-G-conjugates into pre-formed liposomes). Association of the liposomal formulations with target SCLC cells was studied by fluorescence microscopy using fluorescence-labelled liposomes and confirmed quantitatively with [3H]-CHE-labelled liposomes. An antisense oligodeoxynucleotide against the overexpressed oncogene c-myc(as(c-myc)) was efficiently loaded into SALP formulations, the encapsulation efficiency decreased due to the inclusion of the targeting ligand. Also, liposome size was affected by as(c-myc) physical chemical properties. The amount of antagonist G linked to the surface of the liposomal formulations was dependent on the coupling method and lipid composition used. Covalent attachment of antagonist G increased liposomes cellular association and internalization via receptor-mediated and clathrin-dependent endocytosis, as assessed in SCLC cell lines. Biodistribution studies in healthy mice revealed a preferential lung accumulation of antagonist G-targeted SALP as compared to the non-targeted counterpart. Lung levels of the former were up to 3-fold higher 24 h after administration, highlighting their potential to be used as delivery vectors for SCLC treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Liposomes / therapeutic use
  • Lung Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Mice
  • Oligopeptides
  • Small Cell Lung Carcinoma* / drug therapy
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Liposomes
  • Oligopeptides
  • arginyl-tryptophyl-N-methylphenylalanyl-tryptophyl-leucyl-methioninamide