Injectable thermo-responsive nano-hydrogel loading triptolide for the anti-breast cancer enhancement via localized treatment based on “two strikes” effects

Journal name:Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B

Article info

Published date:6 May 2020


The clinical application of triptolide (TPL) in tumor therapy has been greatly limited by its toxicity and inefficient delivery. Herein, a localized and sustained-release thermo-sensitive hydrogel was developed for the intra-tumor administration of TPL. Based on the amphiphilic structure of poly (N-isopropylacrylamide-co-acrylic acid)-g-F68 copolymer, it was able to form nano-micelles to efficiently encapsulate TPL, and then turn into a hydrogel at 37 °C. TPL@nano-gel exhibited a sustained drug release profile in vitro and a stronger anticancer effect caused by “two strikes”. The “first strike” was its enhanced cytotoxicity compared to free TPL, due to the enhanced pro-apoptosis effect observed in both MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cells caused by the regulation of endogenous mitochondrial pathways. Furthermore, TPL@nano-gel exhibited a “second-strike” through its anti-angiogenesis capabilities mediated through VEGFR-2 signaling inhibition. As expected, after intra-tumoral injection at a 0.45 mg/kg TPL-equivalent dose three times over 14 days in 4T1 tumor-bearing mice, TPL@nano-gel led to lower systemic toxicity and higher antitumor efficacy compared to multiple injections of TPL. In this regard, these findings indicate that this injectable thermo-responsive hydrogel carries great potential for TPL as a safe and effective cancer therapy.

Triptolide (TPL) was purchased from Chengdu DeSiTe Biological Technology Co., Ltd. (Chengdu,Sichuan)

Desite and Lemeitian are affiliated companies