Theranostics 2015; 5(7):755-771. doi:10.7150/thno.10804

Research Paper

Coating Solid Lipid Nanoparticles with Hyaluronic Acid Enhances Antitumor Activity against Melanoma Stem-like Cells

Hongxin Shen, Sanjun Shi, Zhirong Zhang, Tao Gong, Xun Sun

Key Laboratory of Drug Targeting and Drug Delivery Systems, Ministry of Education, West China School of Pharmacy, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, P. R. China.

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Shen H, Shi S, Zhang Z, Gong T, Sun X. Coating Solid Lipid Nanoparticles with Hyaluronic Acid Enhances Antitumor Activity against Melanoma Stem-like Cells. Theranostics 2015; 5(7):755-771. doi:10.7150/thno.10804. Available from

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Successful anticancer chemotherapy requires targeting tumors efficiently and further potential to eliminate cancer stem cell (CSC) subpopulations. Since CD44 is present on many types of CSCs, and it binds specially to hyaluronic acid (HA), we tested whether coating solid lipid nanoparticles with hyaluronan (HA-SLNs)would allow targeted delivery of paclitaxel (PTX) to CD44-overexpressing B16F10 melanoma cells. First, we developed a model system based on melanoma stem-like cells for experiments in vitro and in mouse xenografts, and we showed that cells expressing high levels of CD44 (CD44+) displayed a strong CSC phenotype while cells expressing low levels of CD44 (CD44-) did not. This phenotype included sphere and colony formation, higher proportion of side population cells, expression of CSC-related markers (ALDH, CD133, Oct-4) and tumorigenicity in vivo. Next we showed that administering PTX-loaded HA-SLNs led to efficient intracellular delivery of PTX and induced substantial apoptosis in CD44+ cells in vitro. In the B16F10-CD44+ lung metastasis model, PTX-loaded HA-SLNs targeted the tumor-bearing lung tissues well and subsequently exhibited significant antitumor effects with a relative low dose of PTX, which provided significant survival benefit without evidence of adverse events. These findings suggest that the HA-SLNs targeting system shows promise for enhancing cancer therapy.

Keywords: Hyaluronic acid, Paclitaxel, CD44, Melanoma, Cancer stem-like cell