School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, 510006, P. R. China.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.
Cancer cells immersed in inherent oxidative stress are more vulnerable to exogenous oxidative damages than normal cells. Reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated oxidation therapy preferentially aggravating tumor oxidative stress to disrupt redox homeostasis, has emerged as an effective and specific anticancer treatment. Herein, following an ingenious strategy of “broaden sources and reduce expenditure”, we designed a versatile tumor-specific oxidative stress nanoamplifier enabling economized photodynamic therapy (PDT), to achieve synergistic oxidative stress explosion for superior oxidation therapy.
Methods: Cinnamaldehyde (CA) as a therapeutic ROS generator was first conjugated to hyaluronic acid (HA) through acid-labile hydrazone bond to synthesize tailored amphiphilic HA@CA conjugates, which could surprisingly self-assemble into uniform nanofibers in aqueous media. Photosensitizer protoporphyrin (PpIX) was efficiently encapsulated into HA@CA nanofibers and transformed HA@CA nanofibers to final spherical HA@CAP.
Results: With beneficial pH-responsiveness and morphology transformation, improved bioavailability and selective tumor accumulation, HA@CAP combining ROS-based dual chemo/photodynamic treatment modalities could induce cytotoxic ROS generation in a two-pronged approach to amplify tumor oxidative stress, termed “broaden sources”. Moreover, utilizing CA-induced H2O2 production and cascaded Fenton reaction in mitochondria to consume intracellular overloaded Fe(II), HA@CAP could skillfully block endogenic heme biosynthesis pathway on site to restrain undesired elimination of PpIX for economized PDT, termed “reduce expenditure”. Both in vitro and in vivo results demonstrated the superior antitumor performance of HA@CAP.
Conclusion: This study offered an inspiring strategy of “broaden sources and reduce expenditure” to specifically boost tumor oxidative stress for reinforced oxidation therapy.
Keywords: Oxidative stress, oxidation therapy, reactive oxygen species, economized photodynamic therapy, broaden sources and reduce expenditure