Cabazitaxel, a noveltubulin inhibitor with poor affinity for P-glycoprotein, is a second-generation taxane holding great promise for the treatment of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. However, its poor solubility and lack of target-ability limit its therapeutic applications. Herein, we develop a biodegradable, enzyme-responsive, and targeted polymeric micelle for cabazitaxel. The micelle is formed from two amphiphilic block copolymers. The first block copolymer consists of PEG, an enzyme-responsive peptide, and cholesterol; whereas the second block copolymer consists of a targeting ligand (DUPA), PEG and cholesterol. The enzyme-responsive peptide is cleavable in the presence of matrixmetaloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), which is overexpressed in the tumor microenvironment of prostate cancer. The micelle showed a very low critical micelle concentration (CMC), high drug loading, and high entrapment efficiency. Release of cabazitaxel from the micelle is dependent on the cleavage of the enzyme-responsive peptide. Moreover, the micelle showed dramatically higher cellular uptake in prostate cancer cells compared to free cabazitaxel. Importantly, the DUPA-coupled polymeric micelle demonstrated better inhibition of tumor growth in mice bearing prostate cancer xenografts compared to unmodified micelle and free cabazitaxel. Taken together, these findings suggestthat the enzyme-responsive cabazitaxel micelle is a potent and promising drug delivery system for advanced prostate cancer therapy.Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
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