Induction of Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF) as a direct consequence of oxygen deficiency in tumor tissues is a potent stimulus of CD73 (ecto-5′-nucleotidase) expression. Hypoxic environment and CD73 overexpression are associated with altered metabolism, elevated cancer cell proliferation, and tumor vascularization. Herein, a delivery system was developed for silencing CD73 and HIF-1α gene using siRNA-loaded Superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPION) nanocarriers for cancer treatment. SPIONs were encapsulated with thiolated chitosan (TC) and trimethyl chitosan (TMC) for improving their stabilization and functionalization. The nanoparticles (NPs) were about 133 nm in size, spherical, and non-toxic, and the addition of TAT peptide (derived from HIV-1 TAT protein) to TMC-TC-SPIONs significantly increased their cellular uptake by cancer cells. The produced NPs could efficiently accumulate in the tumor site, indicating their stability and targeting ability in reaching the tumor region. TAT-conjugated TMC-TC-SPIONs containing siRNAs could significantly reduce the HIF-1α and CD73 expression levels in cancer cells. Following transfection, cancer cells showed a significant reduction in migration and proliferation. Moreover, siRNA-loaded NPs could effectively reduce tumor growth and angiogenesis, as investigated by the chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay. This study suggested that TAT-TMC-TC-SPIONs can be potential nanocarrier for gene transfection in cancer therapy. Moreover, the co-silencing of CD73 and HIF-1α can be assumed as a novel anti-cancer treatment strategy with high tumor suppression potential.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.