To realize the synergistic anti-tumor effect of chemotherapy and photodynamic therapy, the mono sulfide-modified docetaxel (DTX) prodrugs (DSD) provided by our laboratory and hematoporphyrin (HP) were used to physically prepare co-assembled nanoparticles (DSD/HP NPs) by nano-precipitation. For the first time, this study showed its characteristics, in vitro anti-tumor activity, pharmacokinetic behavior in rats, in vivo distribution, and pharmacodynamic effects on 4T1 tumor-bearing Bal b/c mice. DSD/HP NPs optimized by single-factor and response surface optimization had several distinct characteristics. First, it had dark purple appearance with particle size of 105.16 ± 1.24 nm, PDI of 0.168 ± 0.15, entrapment efficiency and drug loading of DSD and HP in DSD/HP NPs of 96.27 ± 1.03% and 97.70 ± 0.20%, 69.22 ± 1.03% and 20.03 ± 3.12%, respectively. Second, it had good stability and could release DTX and HP slowly in the media of pH 7.4 PBS with 10 mM DTT (H2O2). Moreover, DSD/HP NPs along with NiR treatment significantly inhibited 4T1 cells proliferation, and induced more reactive oxygen species and cells apoptosis. In vivo pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies showed that DSD/HP NPs could prolong the drug circulation time in rats, increase drug distribution in tumor site, obviously inhibit tumor growth, and decrease the exposure of drug to normal tissues. Therefore, DSD/HP NPs as a promising co-assembled nano-drug delivery system could potentially improve the therapeutic efficiency of chemotherapeutic drug and achieve better anti-tumor effects due to the combination of chemotherapy and photodynamic therapy.
Docetaxel prodrug; chemotherapy; co-assembled nanoparticles; hematoporphyrin; photodynamic therapy.