Liposomal topotecan formulation with a low polyethylene glycol grafting density: pharmacokinetics and antitumour activity.J Pharm Pharmacol. 2012 Mar; 64(3):372-82.JP
PEGylated liposomes could evade recognition by the reticulo-endothelial system and prolong the circulation time of vesicles, resulting in enhanced targeting efficiency and antitumour effect. Typically, vesicles are modified with distearoylphosphatidylethanolamine (DSPE)-polyethylene glycol (PEG) at a high PEG grafting density. However, long circulation time and slow drug release rate might induce severe hand-foot syndrome in clinical practice. In this study, a liposomal topotecan formulation with a low PEG grafting density was prepared and its pharmacokinetics, acute toxicity and antitumour effect were investigated.
Topotecan was loaded into liposomes using an ammonium sulfate gradient. The resulting formulation was injected to healthy Wistar rats at different dose levels to investigate whether its clearance followed linear kinetics. Biodistribution was performed in Lewis lung cancer-bearing mice. The acute toxicity was evaluated in healthy mice and beagle dogs. To compare the antitumour effects of different formulations and dose schedule, RM-1 prostate, Lewis lung, H446 and L1210 cancer models were used.
Topotecan could be encapsulated into low DSPE-PEG liposomes with ∼100% loading efficiency. The clearance of the liposomal formulation followed linear kinetics at a dose level ranging from 0.5 to 4 mg/kg despite the fact that the vesicles were coated at a low PEG density. Compared with free topotecan the liposomal formulation preferentially accumulated into tumour zones instead of normal tissues. Both formulations could rapidly accumulate into liver and tumour, but the liposomal formulation was cleared from tissues at a slow rate relative to the conventional formulation. In rats and beagle dogs, liposomal formulations could not induce skin toxicity. In all the tumour models, smaller split doses were more therapeutically active than larger doses when the overall dose intensity was equivalent.
This has been the first report that plasma kinetics of a liposomal formulation with a low PEG density followed linear kinetics. Moreover, due to its short circulation half-life, the formulation did not induce skin toxicity. Our data revealed that the dose schedule of liposomal drugs should be adjusted in accordance with the biophysical and biological properties of the formulations to achieve the optimal therapeutic efficacy.