Early Detection Research Network

Simultaneous inhibition of hedgehog signaling and tumor proliferation remodels stroma and enhances pancreatic cancer therapy.

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the deadliest cancers. It has an excessive desmoplastic stroma that can limit the intratumoral delivery of chemotherapy drugs, and protect tumor cells against radiotherapy. Therefore, both stromal and tumor compartments need to be addressed in order to effectively treat PDAC. We hereby co-deliver a sonic hedgehog inhibitor, cyclopamine (CPA), and a cytotoxic chemotherapy drug paclitaxel (PTX) with a polymeric micelle formulation (M-CPA/PTX). CPA can deplete the stroma-producing cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), while PTX can inhibit tumor proliferation. Here we show that in clinically relevant PDAC models, M-CPA effectively modulates stroma by increasing microvessel density, alleviating hypoxia, reducing matrix stiffness while maintaining the tumor-restraining function of extracellular matrix. M-CPA/PTX also significantly extends animal survival by suppressing tumor growth and lowering the percentages of poorly to moderately differentiated tumor phenotypes. Our study suggests that using multifunctional nanoparticles to simultaneously target stromal and tumor compartments is a promising strategy for PDAC therapy.

Bankson JA, Chow DS, Fleming JB, Hsiao CH, Huang Q, Kang Y, Koay EJ, Li C, Ma Y, Maitra A, Overwijk W, Piwnica-Worms D, Ullrich SE, Wang H, Wen X, Zhao J

29331808

Biomaterials, 2018, 159

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