A Novel Boron Lipid to Modify Liposomal Surfaces for Boron Neutron Capture Therapy

Cells. 2021 Dec 5;10(12):3421. doi: 10.3390/cells10123421.


Boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) is a cancer treatment with clinically demonstrated efficacy using boronophenylalanine (BPA) and sodium mercaptododecaborate (BSH). However, tumor tissue selectivity of BSH and retention of BPA in tumor cells is a constant problem. To ensure boron accumulation and retention in tumor tissues, we designed a novel polyethylene glycol (PEG)-based boron-containing lipid (PBL) and examined the potency of delivery of boron using novel PBL-containing liposomes, facilitated by the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect. PBL was synthesized by the reaction of distearoylphosphoethanolamine and BSH linked by PEG with Michael addition while liposomes modified using PBL were prepared from the mixed lipid at a constant molar ratio. In this manner, novel boron liposomes featuring BSH in the liposomal surfaces, instead of being encapsulated in the inner aqueous phase or incorporated in the lipid bilayer membrane, were prepared. These PBL liposomes also carry additional payload capacity for more boron compounds (or anticancer agents) in their inner aqueous phase. The findings demonstrated that PBL liposomes are promising candidates to effect suitable boron accumulation for BNCT.

Keywords: boron drug; boron lipid; boron neutron capture therapy; liposomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Boron Neutron Capture Therapy*
  • Dialysis
  • Lipids / chemistry*
  • Liposomes / chemistry*
  • Liposomes / ultrastructure
  • Polyethylene Glycols / chemistry
  • Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization
  • Surface Properties


  • Lipids
  • Liposomes
  • Polyethylene Glycols