Targeted PRINT Hydrogels: The Role of Nanoparticle Size and Ligand Density on Cell Association, Biodistribution, and Tumor Accumulation

In this Letter, we varied targeting ligand density of an EGFR binding affibody on the surface of two different hydrogel PRINT nanoparticles (80 nm × 320 and 55 nm × 60 nm) and monitored effects on target-cell association, off-target phagocytic uptake, biodistribution, and tumor accumulation. Interestingly, variations in ligand density only significantly altered in vitro internalization rates for the 80 nm × 320 nm particle. However, in vivo, both particle sizes experienced significant changes in biodistribution and pharmacokinetics as a function of ligand density. Overall, nanoparticle size and passive accumulation were the dominant factors eliciting tumor sequestration.