Coordinating bioorthogonal reactions with two tumor-microenvironment-responsive nanovehicles for spatiotemporally controlled prodrug activation†
Precise activation of prodrugs in tumor tissues is critical to ensuring specific antitumor efficacy, meanwhile reducing the serious adverse effects. Here, a spatiotemporally controlled prodrug activation strategy was provided by integrating the inverse electron demand Diels–Alder (IEDDA) reaction with two tumor-microenvironment-responsive nanovehicles. The prodrug (Dox-TCO) and [4-(6-methyl-1,2,4,5-tetrazin-3-yl)phenyl]methanamine (Tz) were separately camouflaged into low pH and matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP-2) sensitive micellar nanoparticles. After systemic administration, only in the tumor tissues could both the nanovehicles dissociate via responding to two special tumor microenvironments, with Dox-TCO and Tz released and then immediately triggering the prodrug activation through the IEDDA reaction. The hierarchically regulated and locally confined Dox liberation led to dramatically decreased side-effects that were much lower than those of the clinical Doxorubicin Hydrochloride Liposomal Injection (Doxil), while the antitumor therapeutic effect was potent.