New FTY720-docetaxel nanoparticle therapy overcomes FTY720-induced lymphopenia and inhibits metastatic breast tumour growth

Heba Alshaker, Qi Wang, Shyam Srivats, Yimin Chao, Colin Cooper, Dmitri Pchejetski

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Purpose: Combining molecular therapies with chemotherapy may offer an improved clinical outcome for chemoresistant tumours. Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) receptor antagonist and sphingosine kinase 1 (SK1) inhibitor FTY720 (FTY) has promising anticancer properties, however, it causes systemic lymphopenia which impairs its use in cancer patients. In this study, we developed a nanoparticle (NP) combining docetaxel (DTX) and FTY for enhanced anticancer effect, targeted tumour delivery and reduced systemic toxicity.

Methods: Docetaxel, FTY and glucosamine were covalently conjugated to poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA). NPs were characterised by dynamic light scattering and electron microscopy. The cellular uptake, cytotoxicity and in vivo antitumor efficacy of CNPs were evaluated.

Results: We show for the first time that in triple negative breast cancer cells FTY provides chemosensitisation to DTX, allowing a four-fold reduction in the effective dose. We have encapsulated both drugs in PLGA complex NPs (CNPs), with narrow size distribution of ~ 100 nm and excellent cancer cell uptake providing sequential, sustained release of FTY and DTX. In triple negative breast cancer cells and mouse breast cancer models, CNPs had similar efficacy to systemic free therapies, but allowed an effective drug dose reduction. Application of CNPs has significantly reversed chemotherapy side effects such as weight loss, liver toxicity and, most notably, lymphopenia.

Conclusions: We show for the first time the DTX chemosensitising effects of FTY in triple negative breast cancer. We further demonstrate that encapsulation of free drugs in CNPs can improve targeting, provide low off-target toxicity and most importantly reduce FTY-induced lymphopenia, offering potential therapeutic use of FTY in clinical cancer treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531–543
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number3
Early online date10 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

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