Recent developments in d-α-tocopheryl polyethylene glycol-succinate-based nanomedicine for cancer therapy

<p>Cancer remains an obstacle to be surmounted by humans. As an FDA-approved biocompatible drug excipient, d-α-tocopheryl polyethylene glycol succinate (TPGS) has been widely applied in drug delivery system (DDS). Along with in-depth analyses of TPGS-based DDS, increasingly attractive results have revealed that TPGS is able to act not only as a simple drug carrier but also as an assistant molecule with various bio-functions to improve anticancer efficacy. In this review, recent advances in TPGS-based DDS are summarized. TPGS can inhibit P-glycoprotein, enhance drug absorption, induce mitochondrial-associated apoptosis or other apoptotic pathways, promote drug penetration and tumor accumulation, and even inhibit tumor metastasis. As a result, many formulations, by using original TPGS, TPGS-drug conjugates or TPGS copolymers, were prepared, and as expected, an enhanced therapeutic effect was achieved in different tumor models, especially in multidrug resistant and metastatic tumors. Although the mechanisms by which TPGS participates in such functions are not yet very clear, considering its effectiveness in tumor treatment, TPGS-based DDS appears to be one of the best candidates for future clinical applications.</p>