Introduction: Tumor endothelial marker 1 (TEM1) is expressed by tumor vascular endothelial cells in various cancers.
Methods: Here, we developed poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles (NPs) PEGylated with polyethylene glycol (PEG) and functionalized with anti-TEM1 antibody fragment (78Fc) and loaded them with necroptosis-inducing agent shikonin (SHK) (78Fc-PLGA-SHK NPs).
Results: The nanoformulation showed a smooth spherical shape (~120 nm; the ζ potential of –30 mV) with high drug entrapment and bioconjugation efficiencies (~92% and ~90%, respectively) and a sustained-release profile in serum. Having significant toxicity in vitro (e.g., MS1 and TC1 cells), the nanoformulation dramatically increased the cytotoxicity in the TC1 murine lung carcinoma subcutaneous and intravenous/metastatic models as aggressive tumor models. The injection of the 78Fc-PLGA-SHK NPs to the MS1-xenograft mice resulted in significantly higher accumulation and effects in the TEM1-positive tumor targets, while they were excreted via urine track without retaining in the liver/spleen. In the TC1 subcutaneous model, C57/BL6 mice treated with the 78Fc-PLGA-SHK NPs revealed a significant therapeutic effect. The mice, which were tumor-free after receiving the nanoformulation, were re-challenged with the TC1 cells to investigate the immune response. These animals became tumor-free a week after the injection of TC1 cells.
Conclusion: Based on these findings, we propose the 78Fc-PLGA-SHK NPs as a highly effective immunostimulating nanomedicine against the TEM1-expressing cells for targeted therapy of solid tumors including ovarian cancer.