Selective transferrin coating as a facile strategy to fabricate BBB-permeable and targeted vesicles for potent RNAi therapy of brain metastatic breast cancer in vivo
Brain metastases are a most disturbing situation for breast cancer patients as there is basically no adequate treatment available. Any potential drug formulation has to be able to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and specific to metastatic brain tumors without causing unacceptable adverse effects. Here, we developed transferrinfunctionalized chimeric polymersomes carrying siRNA against polo-like kinase 1 (Tf@TBP-CPs-siPLK1) for treating brain metastatic MDA-MB 231 triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) xenografts in mice. To facilitate the loading of siPLK1, chimaeric polymersomes (CPs) were designed with spermine in the watery core and transferrin-binding peptide (TBP) at the surface, enabling attachment of transferrin after the siRNA loading step and thereby circumventing interference of transferrin with siRNA loading. Tf@TBP-CPs-siPLK1 encapsulating 3.8 wt% siRNA had a mean size of about 50 nm and a neutral zeta potential in phosphate buffer (PB). By virtue of the presence of transferrin, Tf@TBP-CPs demonstrated greatly (ca. 5-fold) enhanced internalization in MDA-MB 231 cells and transcytosis in the endothelial (bEnd.3) monolayer model in vitro as well as markedly improved accumulation in the orthotopically xenografted MDA-MB 231 tumor in the brain in vivo compared with control CPs lacking transferrin, supporting that transferrin mediates efficient BBB penetration and high specificity towards MDA-MB 231 cells. As a result, Tf@TBP-CPs-siPLK1 effectively inhibited tumor progression and prolonged the lifespan of the mice significantly. Selective transferrin coating appears to be a particularly facile strategy to fabricate BBB-permeable and targeted vesicles for potent RNAi therapy of brain metastatic breast cancer.
Y.H. Wei, Y.P. Sun, J.J. Wei, X.Y. Qiu, F.H. Meng*, G. Storm*, J.D. Yuan, Z.Y. Zhong*, Selective transferrin coating as a facile strategy to fabricate BBB-permeable and targeted vesicles for potent RNAi therapy of brain metastatic breast cancer in vivo, J. Control. Release 2021, 337, 521-529.