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    The flavone apigenin (APG), alone as well as in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents, is known to exhibit potential anticancer effects in various tumors and inhibit growth and metastasis of melanoma. However, the potential of apigenin nanoparticles (APG-NPs) to prevent lung colonization of malignant melanoma has not been well investigated. APG-loaded PLGA-NPs were surface-functionalized with meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) for the treatment of melanoma lung metastasis. DMSA-conjugated APG-loaded NPs (DMSA-APG-NPs) administered by an oral route exhibited sustained APG release and showed considerable enhancement of plasma half-life, Cmax value, and bioavailability compared to APG-NPs both in plasma and the lungs. DMSA-conjugated APG-NPs showed comparably higher cellular internalization in B16F10 and A549 cell lines compared to that of plain NPs. Increased cytotoxicity was observed for DMSA-APG-NPs compared to APG-NPs in A549 cells. This difference between the two formulations was lower in B16F10 cells. Significant depolarization of mitochondrial transmembrane potential and an enhanced level of caspase activity were observed in B16F10 cells treated with DMSA-APG-NPs compared to APG-NPs as well. Western blot analysis of various proteins was performed to understand the mechanism of apoptosis as well as prevention of melanoma cell migration and invasion. DMSA conjugation substantially increased accumulation of DMSA-APG-NPs given by an intravenous route in the lungs compared to APG-NPs at 6 and 8 h. This was also corroborated by scintigraphic imaging studies with radiolabeled formulations administered by an intravenous route. Conjugation also allowed comparatively higher penetration as evident from an in vitro three-dimensional tumor spheroid model study. Finally, the potential therapeutic efficacy of the formulation was established in experimental B16F10 lung metastases, which suggested an improved bioavailability with enhanced antitumor and antimetastasis efficacy of DMSA-conjugated APG-NPs following oral administration.


    Ramkrishna Sen, Soumya Ganguly, Shantanu Ganguly, Mita Chatterjee Debnath, Subrata Chakraborty, Biswajit Mukherjee, Dipankar Chattopadhyay. Apigenin-Loaded PLGA-DMSA Nanoparticles: A Novel Strategy to Treat Melanoma Lung Metastasis. Molecular pharmaceutics. 2021 May 03;18(5):1920-1938

    PMID: 33780261

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