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To test the hypothesis that co-delivery of synergistic drug combinations in the same liposome provides a better anti-tumor effect than the drugs administered in separate liposomes, fluoroorotic acid (FOA) alone and in combination with irinotecan (IRN) were encapsulated in liposomes and evaluated for their anti-tumor activity in the C26 colon carcinoma mouse model. A new chaotropic loading strategy was devised wherein FOA was dissolved in 7 M urea to increase its solubility. This enabled the passive loading of FOA into liposomes at a high concentration. IRN was remote loaded into liposomes that contained the ammonium salt of the multi-valent 1,2,3,4-butanetetracarboxylic acid with a greater than 90% efficiency and at a drug to lipid ratio of 0.2:1. When the two molecules were loaded into the same liposome, FOA was used to remote load IRN. Modulation of the drug/lipid ratio, temperature, and loading time allowed for consistent co-encapsulation of FOA+IRN at various molar ratios. The anti-tumor activity of L-FOA, L-IRN, L-FOA-IRN (5:1), and the L-FOA+L-IRN mixture (5:1) were examined in the C26 mouse model. The maximum tolerated dose of L-FOA was 10 mg/kg given weekly as compared to 100 mg/kg of the non-encapsulated FOA. Delivering two drugs in the same liposome provided a statistically better anti-tumor effect than delivering the drugs in separate liposomes at the same drug ratio. However, the synergistic activity of the 5:1 ratio of free drugs measured on C26 cells in vitro was not observed in the C26 tumor mouse model. These findings point out the challenges to the design of synergistic treatment protocols based upon results from in vitro cytotoxicity studies. L-FOA at 10 mg/kg as a single agent provided the best anti-tumor efficacy which supports previous suggestions that L-FOA has useful properties as a liposome dependent drug. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Kareen Riviere, Heidi M Kieler-Ferguson, Katherine Jerger, Francis C Szoka. Anti-tumor activity of liposome encapsulated fluoroorotic acid as a single agent and in combination with liposome irinotecan. Journal of controlled release : official journal of the Controlled Release Society. 2011 Aug 10;153(3):288-96

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PMID: 21600250

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