HSA-based multi-target combination therapy: regulating drugs’ release from HSA and overcoming single drug resistance in a breast cancer model

<p>Multi-drug delivery systems, which may be promising solution to overcome obstacles, have limited the clinical success of multi-drug combination therapies to treat cancer. To this end, we used three different anticancer agents, Cu(BpT)Br, NAMI-A, and doxorubicin (DOX), to build human serum albumin (HSA)-based multi-drug delivery systems in a breast cancer model to investigate the therapeutic efficacy of overcoming single drug (DOX) resistance to cancer cells <i>in vivo</i>, and to regulate the drugs’ release from HSA. The HSA complex structure revealed that NAMI-A and Cu(BpT)Br bind to the IB and IIA sub-domain of HSA by N-donor residue replacing a leaving group and coordinating to their metal centers, respectively. The MALDI-TOF mass spectra demonstrated that one DOX molecule is conjugated with lysine of HSA by a pH-sensitive linker. Furthermore, the release behavior of three agents form HSA can be regulated at different pH levels. Importantly, <i>in vivo</i> results revealed that the HSA–NAMI-A–Cu(BpT)Br–DOX complex not only increases the targeting ability compared with a combination of the three agents (the NAMI-A/Cu(BpT)Br/DOX mixture), but it also overcomes DOX resistance to drug-resistant breast cancer cell lines.</p>