Combinatorial miRNA-34a replenishment and irinotecan delivery via auto-fluorescent polymeric hybrid micelles for synchronous colorectal cancer theranostics

Colorectal Cancer

Biomater Sci. 2020 Nov 5. doi: 10.1039/d0bm01579b. Online ahead of print.


The synergistic combination of microRNA (miRNA) modulation and chemotherapy has emerged as an effective strategy to combat cancer. Irinotecan (IRI) is a potent antitumor chemotherapeutic in clinical practice and has been used for treating various malignant tumors, including colorectal cancer (CRC). However, IRI is not effective for advanced CRC or metastatic behavior. Herein, novel polymeric hybrid micelles were engineered based on two different amphiphilic copolymers,

polyethyleneimine-poly(d,l-lactide) (PEI-PLA) and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine-N-[methoxy (polyethyleneglycol) (DSPE-PEG), in which IRI and a tumor suppressive microRNA-34a (miR-34a) gene were efficiently co-loaded (MINPs) to achieve a chemo-miRNA combination therapy against CRC. MINPs were successfully constructed by two-step film dispersion and electrostatic interaction methods. IRI and miR-34a could be efficaciously encapsulated as MINPs and transferred to CRC cells. After encapsulation, MINPs would then upregulate miR-34a expression and regulate miR-34a-related downstream genes, which in turn led to enhanced cell cytotoxicity and apoptosis ratios. MINPs presented an excitation-dependent multi-wavelength emission feature due to the intrinstic fluorescence properties of PEI-PLA and could be utilized for in vitro/vivo imaging. According to the in vivo experimental results, MINPs possess the great characteristic of accumulating in situ in a tumor site and lightening it after intravenous administration. Furthermore, MINPs presented extraordinary antitumor efficacy owing to the combined therapy effects of IRI and miR-34a with good biocompability. Overall, our findings validated MINPs-mediated miR-34a replenishment and IRI co-delivery to serve as an effective theranostic platform and provided an innovative horizon for combining chemo-gene therapy against CRC.