Primary tumor and tumor-associated metastatic lymphatics have emerged as new targets for anticancer therapy, given that these are difficult to treat using traditional chemotherapy. In this study, docetaxel-loaded Pluronic nanoparticles with Flamma™ (FPR-675, fluorescence molecular imaging dye; DTX/FPR-675 Pluronic NPs) were prepared using a temperature-induced phase transition for accurate detection of metastatic lymphatics. Significant accumulation was seen at the primary tumor and in metastatic lymph nodes within a short time. Particle size, maximum drug loading capacity, and drug encapsulation efficiency of the docetaxel-loaded Pluronic NPs were approximately 10.34±4.28 nm, 3.84 wt%, and 94±2.67 wt%, respectively. Lymphatic tracking after local and systemic delivery showed that DTX/FPR-675 Pluronic NPs were more potent in tumor-bearing mice than in normal mice, and excised mouse lymphatics showed stronger near-infrared fluorescence intensity on the tumor-bearing side than on the non-tumor-bearing side at 60 minutes post-injection. In vivo cytotoxicity and efficacy data for the NPs demonstrated that the systemically administered NPs caused little tissue damage and had minimal side effects in terms of slow renal excretion and prolonged circulation in tumor-bearing mice, and rapid renal excretion in non-tumor-bearing mice using an in vivo real-time near-infrared fluorescence imaging system. These results clearly indicate that docetaxel-loaded Pluronic NPs could provide a strategy to achieve effective cancer therapy by simultaneous delivery to primary tumors, tumor lymphatics, and tumor-associated metastatic lymphatics.
- Lymphatic tracking
- Metastatic lymphatics
- Pluronic nanoparticles
- Primary tumor targeting
- Temperature-induced phase transition