Dual responsive micelles capable of modulating miRNA-34a to combat taxane resistance in prostate cancer

Feng Lin, Di Wen, Xiaofang Wang, Ram I. Mahato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


There is a direct correlation between increase in the number of cancer stem cells CSCs and chemoresistance that impedes successful chemotherapy. Synergistic therapy by targeting both bulk tumor cells and CSCs has shown promise in reversing chemoresistance and treating resistant prostate cancer. Herein, we demonstrated the fabrication of a pH and glutathione (GSH) sensitive nanocarrier for co-delivery of docetaxel (DTX) and rubone (RUB), a miR-34 activator for targeting CSCs, for the treatment of taxane resistant (TXR) prostate cancer. DTX loaded P-RUB (DTX/P-RUB) micelles were prepared by encapsulating DTX into pH responsive diisopropylaminoethanol (DIPAE) and GSH responsive RUB prodrug conjugated polycarbonate based micelles. The self-assembled DTX/P-RUB micelles displayed good stability in vitro and could efficiently target to tumors by enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect. After endocytosis by tumor cells, the micelles underwent expansion and disassembly due to the protonation of DIPAE and GSH induced cleavage of disulfide bond in acidic endocytic vesicles, resulting in fast release of DTX and RUB. The released RUB then upregulated the intracellular miR-34a, which then affected the expression of proteins involved in chemoresistance, thus sensitizing the tumor cells towards DTX and further leading to significant inhibition of TXR tumor progression. Thus, DTX/P-RUB micelles have the potential to treat TXR prostate cancer. By taking advantage of this dual responsive strategy, the successful delivery of many other hydrophobic drugs can be achieved for cancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-108
Number of pages14
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Cancer stem cells
  • Docetaxel
  • Drug resistance
  • Prostate cancer
  • Rubone
  • miR-34a

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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