Antiproliferative effect of ASC-J9 delivered by PLGA nanoparticles against estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells

Paolo Verderio, Laura Pandolfi, Serena Mazzucchelli, Maria Rosaria Marinozzi, Renzo Vanna, Furio Gramatica, Fabio Corsi, Miriam Colombo, Carlo Morasso, Davide Prosperi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Among polymeric nanoparticles designed for cancer therapy, PLGA nanoparticles have become one of the most popular polymeric devices for chemotherapeutic-based nanoformulations against several kinds of malignant diseases. Promising properties, including long-circulation time, enhanced tumor localization, interference with "multidrug" resistance effects, and environmental biodegradability, often result in an improvement of the drug bioavailability and effectiveness. In the present work, we have synthesized 1,7-bis(3,4-dimethoxyphenyl)-5-hydroxyhepta-1,4,6-trien-3-one (ASC-J9) and developed uniform ASC-J9-loaded PLGA nanoparticles of about 120 nm, which have been prepared by a single-emulsion process. Structural and morphological features of the nanoformulation were analyzed, followed by an accurate evaluation of the in vitro drug release kinetics, which exhibited Fickian law diffusion over 10 days. The intracellular degradation of ASC-J9-bearing nanoparticles within estrogen-dependent MCF-7 breast cancer cells was correlated to a time- and dose-dependent activity of the released drug. A cellular growth inhibition associated with a specific cell cycle G2/M blocking effect caused by ASC-J9 release inside the cytosol allowed us to put forward a hypothesis on the action mechanism of this nanosystem, which led to the final cell apoptosis. Our study was accomplished using Annexin V-based cell death analysis, MTT assessment of proliferation, radical scavenging activity, and intracellular ROS evaluation. Moreover, the intracellular localization of nanoformulated ASC-J9 was confirmed by a Raman optical imaging experiment designed ad hoc. PLGA nanoparticles and ASC-J9 proved also to be safe for a healthy embryo fibroblast cell line (3T3-L1), suggesting a possible clinical translation of this potential nanochemotherapeutic to expand the inherently poor bioavailability of hydrophobic ASC-J9 that could be proposed for the treatment of malignant breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2864-2875
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 4 2014


  • ASC-J9
  • breast cancer cells
  • chemotherapy
  • drug delivery system
  • PLGA nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Drug Discovery
  • Medicine(all)


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