Quaternary nanoparticles enable sustained release of bortezomib for hepatocellular carcinoma

ARTICLE: Quaternary nanoparticles enable sustained release of bortezomib for hepatocellular carcinoma

AUTHORS: Ling Li, Yicheng Zhang, Yang Zhou, Haijie Hu, Yizong Hu, Christos Georgiades, Hai-Quan Mao, Florin M Selaru

JOURNAL: Hepatology. 2022 May 21. doi: 10.1002/hep.32584. Online ahead of print.


Background and aims: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) represents the third leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the world. Over the past two decades, there has been minimal improvement in therapies as well as clinical outcomes for patients with Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC)-B. These patients are treated with local interventions, including transarterial chemoembolization. Current methodologies only allow sustained intratumoral release measured in hours. Methodologies to allow sustained local release of the drug cargo over days to weeks are acutely needed. We hypothesize that tumor response as well as outcomes of patients with BCLC-B can be improved through utilization of a highly cytotoxic agent delivered with a sustained release platform.

Approach and results: High-throughput drug screening across 40 HCC patient-derived organoids identified bortezomib (BTZ) as a highly cytotoxic small molecule for HCC. We designed and manufactured sustained release BTZ nanoparticles (BTZ-NP) using a flash nanocomplexation/nanoprecipitation process. We quantified the release profile and tested the anti-tumoral effects in vivo. The BTZ-NP formulation demonstrated a sustained release of BTZ of 30 days. This BTZ-NP formulation was highly effective in controlling tumor size and improved survival in vivo in three animal models of HCC, including when delivered via the hepatic artery, as we envision its delivery in patients. In addition, the BTZ-NP formulation was superior to treatment with doxorubicin-drug eluting beads.

Conclusions: The BTZ-NP formulation provides a potent and safe treatment of HCC via a localized delivery approach. These results warrant additional preclinical studies to advance this technology to human clinical trials.

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