An improved d-α-tocopherol-based nanocarrier for targeted delivery of doxorubicin with reversal of multidrug resistance

Jianqin Lu, Wenchen Zhao, Hao Liu, Rebecca Marquez, Yixian Huang, Yifei Zhang, Jiang Li, Wen Xie, Raman Venkataramanan, Liang Xu, Song Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Nanocarriers have recently emerged as an attractive platform for the delivery of various types of therapeutics including anticancer agents. Previously, we developed an improved TPGS delivery system (PEG5K-VE2) which demonstrated improved colloidal stability and greater in vivo antitumor activity. Nevertheless, the application of this system is still limited by a relatively low drug loading capacity (DLC). In this study we report that incorporation of a fluorenylmethyloxycarbonyl (Fmoc) motif at the interfacial region of PEG5K-VE2 led to significant improvement of the system through the introduction of an additional mechanism of drug/carrier interaction. Doxorubicin (DOX) could be effectively loaded into PEG5K-Fmoc-VE2 micelles at a DLC of 39.9%, which compares favorably to most reported DOX nanoformulations. In addition, PEG5K-Fmoc-VE2/DOX mixed micelles showed more sustained release of DOX in comparison to the counterpart without Fmoc motif. MTT assay showed that PEG5K-Fmoc-VE2/DOX exerted significantly higher levels of cytotoxicity over DOX, Doxil as well as PEG5K-VE2/DOX in PC-3 and 4T1.2 cells. A cytotoxicity assay with NCI/ADR-RES, a drug resistant cell line, suggested that PEG5K-Fmoc-VE2 may have the potential to reverse multidrug resistance, which was supported by its inhibition of P-gp ATPase. Pharmacokinetic (PK) and biodistribution studies showed an increased half-life in blood circulation and more effective tumor accuulation for DOX formulated in PEG5K-Fmoc-VE2 micelles. More importantly, DOX-loaded PEG5K-Fmoc-VE2 micelles showed an excellent safety profile with a MTD (~ 30 mg DOX/kg) that is about 3 times as much as that for free DOX. Finally, superior antitumor activity was demonstrated by PEG5K-Fmoc-VE2/DOX in both drug-sensitive (4T1.2 and PC-3) and drug-resistant (KB 8-5) tumor models compared to DOX, Doxil, and PEG5K-VE2/DOX.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-286
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
StatePublished - Dec 28 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemotherapeutics
  • Drug-interactive motif
  • Fluorenylmethyloxycarbonyl
  • Nanomedicine
  • Reversal of multidrug resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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