HER2-Specific Reduction-Sensitive Immunopolymersomes with High Loading of Epirubicin for Targeted Treatment of Ovarian Tumor

Lin Ding, Wenxing Gu, Yifan Zhang, Shujing Yue, Huanli Sun*, Jeroen J.L.M. Cornelissen, Zhiyuan Zhong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Monoclonal antibodies can effectively target to tumors in patients, as validated by antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). The clinically used ADCs, nevertheless, are restricted to toxins only and suffer from low drug content, excessive use of antibody, and high cost. Here, we report on trastuzumab-decorated disulfide-cross-linked polymersomes (Tra-Ps) for specific delivery of epirubicin hydrochloride (EPI·HCl) to HER2-positive SKOV-3 ovarian tumor. EPI·HCl-loaded Tra-Ps (Tra-Ps-EPI) with a small size of 50-60 nm and varying Tra surface densities (0.5 to 2.4 Tra per Ps) were conveniently obtained via post-conjugation of thiolated trastuzumab onto the surface of maleimide-functionalized Ps-EPI with a drug loading content of 12.7 wt %. Interestingly, Tra-Ps with 1.3 trastuzumab on the surface exhibited a 6-fold higher binding affinity to the HER2 extracellular domain than that of native trastuzumab. In vitro studies revealed that Tra-Ps-EPI with long-term storage stability could rapidly release drugs under a reductive condition and efficiently deliver a large amount of EPI·HCl to HER2-positive SKOV-3 cells, leading to stronger cytotoxicity than the nontargeted Ps-EPI. Moreover, Tra-Ps-EPI displayed a long circulation time (ca. 8 h), deep tumor penetration, and superior tumor growth inhibition in SKOV-3 ovarian tumor-bearing nude mice, which were more effective than free EPI·HCl and nontargeted Ps-EPI. These HER2-specific reduction-sensitive immunopolymersomes with high loading of epirubicin emerge as an attractive treatment for HER2-positive tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3855-3863
Number of pages9
Issue number10
Early online date12 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2019


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