Targeting human liver cancer cells with lactobionic acid-G(4)-PAMAM-FITC sorafenib loaded dendrimers

Rosa Maria Iacobazzi, Porcelli Letizia, Lopedota Angela Assunta, Laquintana Valentino, Lopalco Antonio, Cutrignelli Annalisa, Altamura Emiliano, Di Fonte Roberta, Azzariti Amalia, Franco Massimo, Denora Nunzio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reported here is the synthesis and biological evaluation of the asialoglycoprotein receptor (ASGP-R) targeted fourth generation poliamidoamine dendrimer (G(4)-PAMAM) loaded with sorafenib. The ASGP-R targeted dendrimer was obtained by conjugation of Lactobionic acid (La) to the G(4)-PAMAM dendrimer, followed by acetylation (Ac) of the free amino groups in order to reduce the non-specific interactions with the cell membrane. Moreover, by additionally grafting fluorescein (FITC), it was easy to characterize the internalization pathway and the intracellular fate of the targeted dendrimer Ac-La-G(4)-PAMAM-FITC. In vitro experiments performed on HepG-2 and HLE cell lines, allowed to study the ability of the dendrimers to affect the cell vitality. Confocal microscopy and cytofluorimetric analysis confirmed higher binding and uptake ability of the Ac-La-G(4)-PAMAM-FITC dendrimer in well differentiated and ASGP-R expressing human liver cancer cell line HepG-2 compared non-expressing HLE cells. Ac-La-G(4)-PAMAM-FITC dendrimer loaded with sorafenib was stable and showed sustained sorafenib release. As evidenced by the cytotoxicity studies, sorafenib included in the dendrimer maintained its effectiveness, and was able to produce a longer lasting effect over the time compared to molar equivalent doses of free sorafenib. This new targeted dendrimer appears to be a suitable carrier for the delivery of sorafenib to liver cancer cells expressing ASGP-R.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-497
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 7 2017


  • Asialoglycoprotein receptor
  • Hepatic cancer cells
  • Lactobionic acid
  • PAMAM dendrimers
  • Sorafenib

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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