Peritoneal tumor carcinomatosis: Pharmacological targeting with hyaluronan-based bioconjugates overcomes therapeutic indications of current drugs

Isabella Monia Montagner, Anna Merlo, Gaia Zuccolotto, Davide Renier, Monica Campisi, Gianfranco Pasut, Paola Zanovello, Antonio Rosato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Peritoneal carcinomatosis still lacks reliable therapeutic options. We aimed at testing a drug delivery strategy allowing a controlled release of cytotoxic molecules and selective targeting of tumor cells. We comparatively assessed the efficacy of a loco-regional intraperitoneal treatment in immunocompromised mice with bioconjugates formed by chemical linking of paclitaxel or SN-38 to hyaluronan, against three models of peritoneal carcinomatosis derived from human colorectal, gastric and esophageal tumor cell xenografts. In vitro, bioconjugates were selectively internalized through mechanisms largely dependent on interaction with the CD44 receptor and caveolin-mediated endocytosis, which led to accumulation of compounds into lysosomes of tumor cells. Moreover, they inhibited tumor growth comparably to free drugs. In vivo, efficacy of bioconjugates or free drugs against luciferase-transduced tumor cells was assessed by bioluminescence optical imaging, and by recording mice survival. The intraperitoneal administration of bioconjugates in tumor-bearing mice exerted overlapping or improved therapeutic efficacy compared with unconjugated drugs. Overall, drug conjugation to hyaluronan significantly improved the profiles of in vivo tolerability and widened the field of application of existing drugs, over their formal approval or current use. Therefore, this approach can be envisaged as a promising therapeutic strategy for locoregional treatment of peritoneal carcinomatosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere112240
JournalPLoS One
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 10 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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