Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the leading cancer in women. Chemotherapeutic agents used for TNBC are mainly associated with dose-dependent toxicities and development of resistance. Hence, novel strategies to overcome resistance and to offer dose reduction are warranted. In this study, we designed a novel dual-functioning agent, conjugate of cholecalciferol with PEG2000 (PEGCCF) which can self-assemble into micelles to encapsulate doxorubicin (DOX) and act as a chemosensitizer to improve the therapeutic potential of DOX. DOX-loaded PEGCCF (PEGCCF-DOX) micelles have particle size, polydispersity index (PDI), and zeta potential of 40 ± 8.7 nm, 0.180 ± 0.051, and 2.39 ± 0.157 mV, respectively. Cellular accumulation studies confirmed that PEGCCF was able to concentration-dependently enhance the cellular accumulation of DOX and rhodamine 123 in MDA-MB-231 cells through its P-glycoprotein (P-gp) inhibition activity. PEGCCF-DOX exhibited 1.8-, 1.5-, and 2.9-fold enhancement in cytotoxicity of DOX in MDA-MB-231, MDA-MB-468, and MDA-MB-231DR (DOX-resistant) cell lines, respectively. Western blot analyses showed that PEGCCF-DOX caused significant reduction in tumor markers including mTOR, c-Myc, and antiapoptotic marker Bcl-xl along with upregulation of preapoptotic marker Bax. Further, reduction in mTOR activity by PEGCCF-DOX indicates reduced P-gp activity due to P-gp downregulation as well and, hence, PEGCCF causes enhanced chemosensitization and induces apoptosis. Substantially enhanced apoptotic activity of DOX (10-fold) in MDA-MB-231(DR) cells confirmed apoptotic potential of PEGCCF. Conclusively, PEGCCF nanomicelles are promising delivery systems for improving anticancer activity of DOX in TNBC, thereby reducing its side effects and may act as a potential carrier for other chemotherapeutic agents.
- triple-negative breast cancer