Stimuli-responsive drug delivery has rendered promising utilities in cancer treatment. Nevertheless, cancer selectivity as well as sensitivity still remains critical challenges that would undermine the therapeutic efficacy of chemodrugs and cause undesired systemic toxicity. Herein, a dual hypoxia-responsive drug delivery system was developed to enable photodynamic therapy (PDT)-induced drug release and drug activation intermediated via PDT-induced hypoxia. Particularly, tumor-targeting and hypoxia-dissociable nanoparticles (NPs) were self-assembled from the amphiphilic polyethylenimine-alkyl nitroimidazole [PEI-ANL (PA)] and hyaluronic acid-chlorin e6 (HA-Ce6) to encapsulate bioreductive chemodrug, tirapazamine (TPZ). After systemic administration, the obtained PA/HA-Ce6@TPZ NPs enabled effective tumor accumulation due to HA-mediated cancer targeting. Upon receptor-mediated endocytosis, light irradiation (660 nm, 10 mW/cm(2)) produced high levels of reactive oxygen species to mediate PDT and generated a severe local hypoxic environment to dissociate the NPs and selectively release TPZ, as a consequence of hypoxia-triggered hydrophobic-to-hydrophilic transformation of ANI. In the meantime, TPZ was activated under hypoxia, finally contributing to a synergistic anticancer treatment between PDT and hypoxia-strengthened bioreductive chemotherapy. This study, therefore, demonstrates a suitable strategy for cancer-selective drug delivery as well as programmed combination therapy.
- THERANOSTIC LIPOSOMES