Poly(ester-thioether) microspheres co-loaded with erlotinib and α-tocopheryl succinate for combinational therapy of non-small cell lung cancer†
Polymer microspheres are attracting wide attention in localized cancer therapy owing to the excellent biocompatibility and drug loading capacity, controllable biodegradation speeds, and minimized systemic toxicity. Herein, we presented poly(ester-thioether) microspheres, porous and nonporous, as drug depots for localized therapy of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Specifically, erlotinib and α-tocopheryl succinate (α-TOS), which are respectively an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor and mitochondria destabilizer, were efficiently loaded into porous and nonporous poly(ester-thioether) microspheres for the treatment of EGFR-overexpressing NSCLC (A549 cells). The poly(ester-thioether) microspheres significantly improved the bioavailability of both erlotinib and α-TOS in comparison to the free drug combination, realizing synergistic inhibition of A549 cells both in vitro and in vivo. The porous microspheres displayed faster degradation and drug release than the nonporous counterpart, thereby showing better anticancer efficacy. Overall, our study reported a new anticancer strategy of erlotinib and α-TOS combination for therapy of NSCLC, and established that poly(ester-thioether) microspheres could be a robust and biodegradable reservoir for drug delivery and localized cancer therapy.