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Doxorubicin-loaded red blood cells reduced cardiac toxicity and preserved anticancer activity.

  • Author(s): Lucas, Alfredo;
  • Lam, Dawn;
  • Cabrales, Pedro
  • et al.

Doxorubicin (DOX) is one of the most widely used anticancer agents. DOX is known for inducing cardiotoxicity, resulting in the long-term development of heart failure. Intravascular delivery of DOX may benefit from the carriage by red blood cells (RBCs), as they can limit the systemic toxicity while delivering the DOX to the tumor. This study proposes a methodology for the synthesis of electrophoretically DOX-loaded red blood cells (RBC-DOX), as well as the assessment of its antitumorigenic effects in human colon cancer cells (HT-29), and in colon cancer xenograft models. In addition, healthy mice without tumors were dosed with RBC-DOX to assess cardiotoxicity via assessment of indexes of cardiac function after multiple doses of RBC-DOX. The HT-29 IC50 was found to be lower for RBC-DOX compared to free DOX. Tumor volume for the RBC-DOX group was smaller than the free DOX groups in HT-29 xenografts models. Statistically higher concentrations of DOX were found in the liver, spleen, and lungs for the RBC-DOX group compared to the free DOX group. However, the heart and the skin had statistically lower DOX concentrations for the RBC-DOX group compared to the free DOX group, with no significant differences in tumor biodistribution. All hemodynamic and cardiac function parameters were closer to control parameters for the RBC-DOX treated compared to for the free DOX-treated mice. These results suggest that RBC-DOX can be an alternative to prolong treatments with DOX, with superior antitumorigenic effects, decreased myelosuppression, and limited cardiac toxicity compared to equivalent doses of free DOX.

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