Nanoformulation design and therapeutic potential of a novel tubulin inhibitor in pancreatic cancer

Rajan Sharma Bhattarai, Virender Kumar, Svetlana Romanova, Jitender Bariwal, Hao Chen, Shanshan Deng, Vijaya R. Bhatt, Tatiana Bronich, Wei Li, Ram I. Mahato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Successful treatment of pancreatic cancer remains a challenge due to desmoplasia, development of chemoresistance, and systemic toxicity. Herein, we synthesized (6-(3-hydroxy-4-methoxylphenyl)pyridin-2-yl) (3,4,5-trimethoxyphenyl)methanone (CH-3-8), a novel microtubule polymerization inhibitor with little susceptible to transporter-mediated chemoresistance. CH-3-8 binding to the colchicine-binding site in tubulin protein was confirmed by tubulin polymerization assay and molecular modeling. CH-3-8 disrupted microtubule dynamics at the nanomolar concentration in MIA PaCa-2 and PANC-1 pancreatic cancer cell lines. CH-3-8 significantly inhibited the proliferation of these cells, induced G2/M cell cycle arrest, and led to apoptosis. CH-3-8 is hydrophobic with an aqueous solubility of 0.97 ± 0.16 μg/mL at pH 7.4. We further conjugated it with dodecanol through diglycolate linker to increase hydrophobicity and thus loading in lipid-based delivery systems. Hence, we encapsulated CH-3-8 lipid conjugate (LDC) into methoxy poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(2-methyl-2-carboxyl-propylene carbonate-graft-dodecanol) (mPEG-b-PCC-g-DC) polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) by solvent evaporation, resulting in a mean particle size of 125.6 ± 2.3 nm and drug loading of 10 ± 1.0% (w/w) while the same polymer could only load 1.6 ± 0.4 (w/w) CH-3-8 using the same method. Systemic administration of 6 doses of CH-3-8 and LDC loaded NPs at the dose of 20 mg/kg into orthotopic pancreatic tumor-bearing NSG mice every alternate day resulted in significant tumor regression. Systemic toxicity was negligible, as evidenced by histological evaluations. In conclusion, CH-3-8 LDC loaded NPs have the potential to improve outcomes of pancreatic cancer by overcoming transporter-mediated chemoresistance and reducing systemic toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-597
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
StatePublished - Jan 10 2021


  • Lipid-drug conjugate
  • Nanoparticles
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Tubulin inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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