Sensitizing basal-like breast cancer to chemotherapy using nanoparticles conjugated with interference peptide†
Basal-like breast cancers are highly aggressive malignancies associated with very poor prognosis. Although these cancers may initially respond to first-line treatment, they become highly resistant to standard chemotherapy in the metastatic setting. Chemotherapy resistance in basal-like breast cancers is associated with highly selective overexpression of the homeobox transcription factor Engrailed 1 (EN1). Herein, we propose a novel therapeutic strategy using poly(glycidyl methacrylate) nanoparticles decorated with poly(acrylic acid) that enable dual delivery of docetaxel and interference peptides designed to block or inhibit EN1 (EN1-iPep). We demonstrate that EN1-iPep is highly selective in inducing apoptotic cell death in basal-like cancer cells with negligible effects in a non-neoplastic human mammary epithelial cell line. Furthermore, we show that treatment with EN1-iPep results in a highly synergistic pharmacological interaction with docetaxel in inhibiting cancer cell growth. The incorporation of these two agents in a single nanoformulation results in greater anticancer efficacy than current nanoparticle-based treatments used in the clinical setting.