Center for Pharmacogenetics, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA; University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA. Electronic address: [Email]
Metastasis is the major cause for breast cancer related mortality. The combination of miRNA-based therapy and chemotherapy represents a promising approach against breast cancer lung metastasis. The goal of this study is to develop an improved therapy that co-delivers a novel bioengineered miRNA prodrug (tRNA-mir-34a) and doxorubicin (DOX) via a multifunctional nanomicellar carrier that is based on a conjugate of amphiphilic copolymer POEG-VBC backbone with creatine, a naturally occurring cationic molecule. Co-delivery of DOX leads to more effective processing of tRNA-mir-34a into mature miR-34a and down-regulation of target genes. DOX + tRNA-mir-34a/POEG-PCre exhibits potent synergistic anti-tumor and anti-metastasis activity in vitro and in vivo. Interestingly, the enhanced immune response contributes to the overall antitumor efficacy. POEG-PCre may represent a safe and effective delivery system for an optimal chemo-gene combination therapy.