Liposomal sunitinib for ocular drug delivery: A potential treatment for choroidal neovascularization

Int J Pharm. 2022 May 25:620:121725. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2022.121725. Epub 2022 Apr 8.


Choroidal neovascularization (CNV) is a prevalent vision-threatening vascular disorder in aging population. CNV is associated with several diseases in the posterior segment of the eye such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In this study we developed sunitinib-loaded liposomes to block the neovascularization signalling pathway through inhibition of tyrosine kinase of vascular endothelial growth factor receptors (VEGFRs). Liposomal sunitinib formulations were prepared by thin film hydration method and studied for their encapsulation efficiency (EE), loading capacity (LC) and drug release profile in buffer andvitreous. Our finding showed that the liposomes (mean size 104 nm) could effectively entrap sunitinib (EE ≈ 95%) at relatively high loading capacity (LC ≈ 5%) and release sunitinib over at least 3 days. Intravitreal sunitinib-loaded liposomes revealed inhibitory effect on established neovascularization in laser-induced CNV mouse model while the intravitreal injection of sunitinib solubilized with cyclodextrin was inefficient in management of neovascularization. Accordingly, liposomal sunitinib is a promising drug delivery system that should be further studied to inhibit the CNV related to AMD.

Keywords: Age-related macular degeneration; Choroidal neovascularization; Cyclodextrin; Intravitreal injection; Liposome; Sunitinib.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Choroidal Neovascularization* / drug therapy
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Intravitreal Injections
  • Liposomes / therapeutic use
  • Macular Degeneration* / drug therapy
  • Mice
  • Sunitinib / therapeutic use
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism


  • Liposomes
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Sunitinib