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Liposome co-encapsulation of synergistic combination of irinotecan and doxorubicin for the treatment of intraperitoneally grown ovarian tumor xenograft

Ishaque M. Shaikh, Kuan-Boone Tan, Anumita Chaudhury, Yuanjie Liu, Bee-Jen Tan, Bernice M.J. Tan, Gigi N.C. Chiu.

Journal of Controlled Release, Vol 172, 3,  Dec 2013, Pages 852-861.

Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

 

Abstract

 

Liposome co-encapsulation of synergistic anti-cancer drug combination is an emerging area that has demonstrated therapeutic benefit in clinical trials. Remote loading of two or more drugs into a single liposome constitutes a new challenge that calls for a re-examination of drug loading strategies to allow the loading of the drug combination efficiently and with high drug content. In this study, the Mn2 + gradient coupled with A23187 ionophore was applied in the sequential co-encapsulation of doxorubicin and irinotecan, as this drug loading method is capable of remotely loading drugs by apparently two different mechanisms, namely, coordination complexation and pH gradient. Doxorubicin and irinotecan could be co-encapsulated into liposomes in a wide range of drug-to-drug ratios, with encapsulation efficiencies of > 80%. The total encapsulated drug content was non-linearly correlated with increases in the intraliposomal Mn2 +concentration, with a maximum total drug-to-lipid molar ratio of 0.8:1 achieved with 600 mM Mn2 +. This high encapsulated drug content did not affect the stability of the co-encapsulated liposomes upon storage for six months. Regardless of the encapsulated drug amount, the liposomes did not exhibit the fiber bundle precipitate morphology but rather an undefined structural organization in the aqueous core. The co-encapsulated liposome formulation was further tested in an intraperitoneally grown, human ovarian tumor xenograft model, and was shown to significantly improve the survival of the tumor-bearing animals. The improvement in therapeutic efficacy was possibly due to the increase in systemic drug exposure, with the maintenance of the synergistic molar drug ratio of 1:1 in circulation.

 

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