Engineering docetaxel-loaded micelles for non-small cell lung cancer: a comparative study of microfluidic and bulk nanoparticle preparation†
Bulk preparation of micelles has the drawbacks of facile formation of large aggregates and heterogeneous particle size distribution. Microfluidic technology has shown clear potential to address these challenges for robust nanomedicine applications. In this study, docetaxel-loaded PLGA-PEG-Mal-based micelles were prepared by microfluidics and dialysis methods and their physicochemical properties were analyzed. The biological behaviors of these micelles were also investigated in the non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell line A549 in vitro as well as in vivo. Encouragingly, the mean particle size of the micelles prepared by microfluidics (DMM) was smaller, with an average size of 72 ± 1 nm and a narrow size distribution with a polydispersity index (PDI) of 0.072; meanwhile, micelles prepared by the dialysis method (DMD) had larger particle sizes (range, 102 to 144 nm) and PDIs (up to 0.390). More importantly, significantly high drug loading was achieved using the microfluidic process. The IC50 value of DMM was lower than that of DMD. Whole-body fluorescence imaging of live mice showed that DMM achieved higher accumulation in tumors compared with DMD. DMM showed superior antitumor efficacy, with a tumor inhibition rate of 91.5%. Moreover, pathological histology analysis revealed that no evident biological toxicity was caused by the micelles. In addition, Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) was employed as a targeting agent on the basis of DMM to prepare targeting micelles, and the targeting micelles exhibited stronger cytotoxicity and obvious antitumor efficacy. In conclusion, DMM may have obvious clinical advantages for the treatment of NSCLC due to its optimized physiochemical properties. Therefore, microfluidic technology-based micelles are a promising platform as an effective drug delivery system for incorporating anticancer agents.