Antiproliferative effect of immunoliposomes containing 5-fluorodeoxyuridine-dipalmitate on colon cancer cells
We have investigated the antiproliferative action towards CC531 colon adenocarcinoma cells of target cell-specific immunoliposomes containing the amphiphilic dipalmitoyl derivative of 5-fluorodeoxyuridine (FUdR-dP). FUdR-dP incorporated in immunoliposomes caused a 13-fold stronger inhibition of CC531 cell growth in vitro, during a 72-h treatment, than FUdR-dP in liposomes without antibody, demonstrating that the prodrug is efficiently hydrolysed to yield the active drug, FUdR, intracellularly. The intracellular release of active FUdR was confirmed by determining the fate of H-3-labelled immunoliposomal FUdR-dP. Treatments shorter than 72 h with FUdR-dP in immunoliposomes resulted in anti-tumour activities comparable to, or even higher than, that of free FUdR. The shorter treatments reflect more closely the in vivo situation and illustrate the potential advantage of the use of immunoliposomes over non-targeted liposomal FUdR-dP or free FUdR. Association of tumour cell-specific immunoliposomes with CC531 cells was up to tenfold higher than that of liposomes without antibody or with irrelevant IgG coupled, demonstrating a specific interaction between liposomes and target cells which causes an efficient intracellular delivery of the drug. Since biochemical evidence indicates a lack of internalization or degradation of the liposomes as such; we postulate that entry of the drug most likely involves the direct transfer of the prodrug from the immunoliposome to the cell membrane during its antigen-specific interaction with the cells. followed by hydrolysis of FUdR-dP leading to relatively high intracellular FUdR-levels. In conclusion, we describe a targeted liposomal formulation for the anticancer drug FUdR, which is able to deliver the active drug to colon carcinoma cells with high efficiency, without the need for the cells to internalize the liposomes as such.