Author(s): Banerjee R, Tyagi P, Li S, Huang L
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Abstract Certain human malignancies including prostate cancer overexpress sigma receptor, a membrane bound protein that binds haloperidol and various other neuroleptics with high affinity. An anisamide derivatized ligand possesses high affinity for sigma receptors and we hypothesized that its incorporation into the liposomes encapsulating doxorubicin (DOX) can specifically target and deliver the drug to prostate cancer cells that overexpress sigma receptors. A polyethylene glycol phospholipid was derivatized with an anisamide ligand, which was then incorporated into the DOX-loaded liposome. The resulting anisamide-conjugated liposomal DOX showed significantly higher toxicity to DU-145 cells than non-targeted liposomal DOX, the IC50 being 1.8 microM and 14 microM respectively. The cytotoxicity of the targeted liposomal DOX, however, was significantly blocked by haloperidol, suggesting that the enhanced cytotoxicity was specifically mediated by the sigma receptors. Fluorescence imaging studies after intravenous (i.v.) administration showed that incorporation of anisamide into liposomes significantly improved their accumulation into the tumor. A weekly injection of the targeted liposomal DOX for 4 weeks at a dose of 7.5 mg/kg led to a significant growth inhibition of established DU-145 tumor in nude mice with minimal toxicity. Free DOX was effective, but associated with significant toxicities. The present study is the first to demonstrate the use of small molecular weight ligand for mediating efficient targeting of liposomal drugs to sigma receptor expressing prostate cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo.
This article was published in Int J Cancer
and referenced in Journal of Cancer Science & Therapy