Saber, M. M., A. M. Al-mahallawi, N. N. Nassar, B. Stork, and S. A. Shouman, "Targeting colorectal cancer cell metabolism through development of cisplatin and metformin nano-cubosomes.", BMC cancer, vol. 18, issue 1, pp. 822, 2018 Aug 15. Abstract

BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer (CRC) remains a leading cause of death worldwide. Utilizing cisplatin in CRC is correlated with severe adverse effects and drug-resistance. Combined anticancer drug-treatment, along with, their enhanced delivery, can effectively kill cancer through multiple pathways. Nano-cubosomes are emerging as nanocarriers for anticancer therapies, hence, we constructed nano-cubosomes bearing cisplatin and cisplatin-metformin combination for investigation on HCT-116 cells.

METHODS: Nano-cubosomes bearing either cisplatin alone or cisplatin-metformin combination were formulated using emulsification technique. The loaded nano-cubosomes were characterized in vitro and the optimized formulation was selected. Their cytotoxic effects were investigated by Sulphorhodamine-B (SRB) assay. The AMPK/mTOR metabolic pathway as well as the Akt/mTOR pathway were analyzed using ELISA technique. Colorimetry was used in NADPH oxidase, LDH and caspase-3 activity determination.

RESULTS: nano-cubosomal formulations exhibited superior cytotoxic effect compared to unformulated cisplatin. This cytotoxic effect was profound upon incorporation of metformin, an indirect mTOR inhibitor, in cisplatin nano-cubosomes. The induced CRC cell apoptosis was through inhibition of several metabolic pathways, namely, AMPK/mTOR and Akt/mTOR. Drug-loaded nano-cubosomes ensued depletion in glucose and energy levels that led to AMPK activation and thus mTOR inhibition. mTOR was additionally inhibited via suppression of p-Akt (Ser473) levels after nano-cubosomal treatment. Moreover, drug-loaded nano-cubosomes produced a notable escalation in ROS levels, evident as an increase in NADPH oxidase, inhibition of LDH and a consequential upsurge in caspase-3.

CONCLUSION: These results demonstrated the influence exerted by cisplatin-loaded nano-cubosomes on CRC cell survival and enhancement of their cytotoxicity upon metformin addition.