Luo C, Sun J, Liu D, Sun B, Miao L, Musetti S, Li J, Han X, Du Y, Li L, Huang L, He Z. Self-assembled redox dual-responsive prodrug-nanosystem formed by single thioether-bridged paclitaxel-fatty acid conjugate for cancer chemotherapy. Nano Lett. 2016 Sep 14;16(9):5401-8. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b01632

Chemotherapeutic efficacy can be greatly improved by developing nanoparticulate drug delivery systems (nano-DDS) with high drug loading capacity and smart stimulus-triggered drug release in tumor cells. Herein, we report a novel redox dual-responsive prodrug-nanosystem self-assembled by hydrophobic small-molecule conjugates of paclitaxel (PTX) and oleic acid (OA). Thioether linked conjugates (PTX-S-OA) and dithioether inserted conjugates (PTX-2S-OA) are designed to respond to the redox-heterogeneity in tumor. Dithioether has been reported to show redox dual-responsiveness, but we find that PTX-S-OA exhibits superior redox sensitivity over PTX-2S-OA, achieving more rapid and selective release of free PTX from the prodrug nanoassemblies triggered by redox stimuli. PEGylated PTX-S-OA nanoassemblies, with impressively high drug loading (57.4%), exhibit potent antitumor activity in a human epidermoid carcinoma xenograft. This novel prodrug-nanosystem addresses concerns related to the low drug loading and inefficient drug release from hydrophobic prodrugs of PTX, and provides possibilities for the development of redox dual-sensitive conjugates or polymers for efficient anticancer drug delivery.

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