Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a recalcitrant malignancy with no available targeted therapy. Off-target effects and poor bioavailability of the FDA-approved antiobesity drug orlistat hinder its clinical translation as a repurposed new drug against TNBC. Here, we demonstrate a newly engineered drug formulation for packaging orlistat tailored to TNBC treatment. We synthesized TNBC-specific folate receptor–targeted micellar nanoparticles (NP) carrying orlistat, which improved the solubility (70–80 μg/mL) of this water-insoluble drug. The targeted NPs also improved the delivery and bioavailability of orlistat to MDA-MB-231 cells in culture and to tumor xenografts in a nude mouse model. We prepared HEA–EHA copolymer micellar NPs by copolymerization of 2-hydroxyethylacrylate (HEA) and 2-ethylhexylacrylate (EHA), and functionalized them with folic acid and an imaging dye. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis of TNBC cells indicated a dose-dependent increase in apoptotic populations in cells treated with free orlistat, orlistat NPs, and folate-receptor–targeted Fol-HEA-EHA-orlistat NPs in which Fol-HEA-EHA-orlistat NPs showed significantly higher cytotoxicity than free orlistat. In vitro analysis data demonstrated significant apoptosis at nanomolar concentrations in cells activated through caspase-3 and PARP inhibition. In vivo analysis demonstrated significant antitumor effects in living mice after targeted treatment of tumors, and confirmed by fluorescence imaging. Moreover, folate receptor–targeted Fol-DyLight747-orlistat NP–treated mice exhibited significantly higher reduction in tumor volume compared to control group. Taken together, these results indicate that orlistat packaged in HEA-b-EHA micellar NPs is a highly promising new drug formulation for TNBC therapy. Mol Cancer Ther; 15(2); 221–31. ©2015 AACR.
This article is featured in Highlights of This Issue, p. 219
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Molecular Cancer Therapeutics Online (http://mct.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received July 16, 2015.
- Revision received October 30, 2015.
- Accepted November 2, 2015.
- ©2015 American Association for Cancer Research.