Ameliorative anticancer effect of dendrimeric peptide modified liposomes of letrozole: In vitro and in vivo performance evaluations

Aswathi R. Hegde, Milan Paul, Soniya Kumbham, Amrita Arup Roy, Sheikh F. Ahmad, Harendra Parekh, Swati Biswas, Srinivas Mutalik

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Letrozole (LTZ) loaded dendrimeric nano-liposomes were prepared for targeted delivery to breast cancer cells. Surface modification with cationic peptide dendrimers (PDs) and a cancer specific ligand, transferrin (Tf), was attempted. Arginine-terminated PD (D-1) and Arginine-terminated, lipidated PD (D-2) were synthesized using Solid Phase Peptide Synthesis, purified by preparative HPLC and characterized using 1HNMR, MS and DSC analyses. Surface modification of drug loaded liposomes with Tf and/or PD was carried out. Formulations were characterized using FTIR, DSC, 1HNMR, XRD and TEM. Tf-conjugated LTZ liposomes (LTf) and Tf/D-2-conjugated LTZ liposomes (LTfD-2) showed greater cytotoxic potential (IC50 = 95.03 µg/mL and 23.75 µg/mL respectively) with enhanced cellular uptake in MCF7 cells compared to plain LTZ. Blocking studies of Tf (Tf-receptor mediated internalization) revealed decreased uptake of LTf and LTfD-2 confirming the role of Tf in uptake of Tf-conjugated liposomes. Intravenous treatment with LTfD-2 caused highest reduction in tumor volumes of female BALB/c-nude mice (145 mm3) compared to plain LTZ (605 mm3) and unconjugated LTZ liposomes (LP) (300 mm3). In vivo biodistribution studies revealed higher fluorescence in tumor tissue and liver of LTfD-2 treated mice than LTf or LP treatment. Immunohistochemical studies revealed greater apoptotic potential of LTfD-2 as indicated by TUNEL assay and ROS detection assay. The study reveals the superior therapeutic efficacy of the developed LTZ liposomal nanocarriers using PDs to enhance the transfection efficiency in addition to modifying the surface characteristics by attaching a targeting ligand for active drug targeting to breast cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123582
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Publication statusPublished - 15-12-2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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