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Topical carvedilol delivery prevents UV-induced skin cancer with negligible systemic absorption.


The β-blocker carvedilol prevents ultraviolet (UV)-induced skin cancer, but systemic drug administration may cause unwanted cadiovascular effects. To overcome this limitation, a topical delivery system based on transfersome (T-CAR) was characterized ex vivo and in vivo. T-CAR was visualized by Transmission Electron Microscopy as nanoparticles of spherical and unilamellar structure. T-CAR incorporated into carbopol gel and in suspension showed similar drug permeation and deposition profiles in Franz diffusion cells loaded with porcine ear skin. In mice exposed to a single dose UV, topical T-CAR gel (10 µM) significantly reduced UV-induced skin edema and cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer formation. In mice exposed to chronic UV radiation for 25 weeks, topical T-CAR gel (10 µM) significantly delayed the incidence of tumors, reduced tumor number and burden, and attenuated Ki-67 and COX-2 expression. The T-CAR gel was subsequently examined for skin deposition, systemic absorption and cardiovascular effects in mice. In mice treated with repeated doses of T-CAR gel (100 µM), the drug was undetectable in plasma, the heart rate was unaffected, but skin deposition was significantly higher than mice treated with oral carvedilol (32 mg/kg/day). These data indicate that the carbopol-based T-CAR gel holds great promise for skin cancer prevention with negligible systemic effects.

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