Lung cancer, associated with the up-regulated epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) led to the development of EGFR targeted anticancer therapeutics. The biopolymeric nanoparticles form an outstanding system for the targeted delivery of therapeutic agents. The present work evaluated the in vitro effects of chitosan cross-linked γ-poly(glutamic acid) (γ-PGA) nanoparticles (Nps) loaded with docetaxel (DTXL) and decorated with Cetuximab (CET), targeted to EGFR over-expressing non-small-cell-lung-cancer (NSCLC) cells (A549). CET-DTXL-γ-PGA Nps was prepared by ionic gelation and CET conjugation via EDC/NHS chemistry. EGFR specificity of targeted Nps was confirmed by the higher uptake rates of EGFR +ve A549 cells compared to that of EGFR −ve cells (NIH3T3). The cytotoxicity of Nps quantified using cell based (MTT/LDH) and flowcytometry (Cell-cycle analysis, Annexin V/PI and JC-1) assays showed superior antiproliferative activity of CET-DTXL-γ-PGA Nps over DTXL-γ-PGA Nps. The A549 cells treated with CET-DTXL-γ-PGA NPs underwent a G2/M phase cell cycle arrest followed by reduction in mitochondrial membrane potential of A549 cells, inducing apoptosis and necrosis resulting in enhanced cancer cell death. CET-DTXL-γ-PGA Nps exhibited enhanced cellular internalization and therapeutic activity, by actively targeting EGFR on NSCLC cells and hence could be an effective alternative to non-specific, conventional chemotherapy by increasing its efficiency by many folds.
S. Maya, Sarmento, B., Lakshmanan, V. - K., Menon, D., Seabra, V., and Dr. Jayakumar Rangasamy, “Chitosan Cross-linked Docetaxel Loaded EGF Receptor Targeted Nanoparticles for Lung Cancer Cells”, International journal of biological macromolecules, vol. 69, pp. 532–541, 2014.