In vivo tailor-made protein corona of a prodrug-based nanoassembly fabricated by redox dual-sensitive paclitaxel prodrug for the superselective treatment of breast cancer†
Prodrug self-nanoassemblies have many advantages for anticancer drug delivery, including high drug loading rate, resistance to recrystallization, and on-demand drug release. However, few studies have focused on their protein corona, which is inevitably formed after entering the blood and determines their subsequent fates in vivo. To actively tune the protein corona of prodrug nanoassemblies, three maleimide-paclitaxel prodrugs were synthesized via different redox-sensitive linkers (ester bond, thioether bond and disulfide bond). After incubation with rat plasma, the surface maleimide groups effectively captured albumins, resulting in albumin-enriched protein corona. The recruited albumin corona enabled enhanced tumor accumulation and facilitated cellular uptake, ensuring the high-efficiency delivery of nanoassemblies to tumor cells. Surprisingly, we found that the traditionally reduction-sensitive disulfide bond could also be triggered by reactive oxygen species (ROS). Such a redox dual-responsive drug release property of the disulfide bond-containing prodrug nanoassemblies further increased the selectivity in cytotoxicity between normal and tumor cells. Moreover, the disulfide bond-containing prodrug nanoassemblies exhibited the highest antitumor efficacy in vivo compared to marketed Abraxane® and other prodrug nanoassemblies. Thus, the fabrication of the maleimide-decorated disulfide bond bridged prodrug nanoassembly, integrating a tunable protein corona and on-demand drug release, is a promising strategy for improved cancer chemotherapy.