ROS-Responsive Polymeric Micelles for Triggered Simultaneous Delivery of PLK1 Inhibitor/miR-34a and Effective Synergistic Therapy in Pancreatic Cancer

Xiaofei Xin, Feng Lin, Qiyue Wang, Lifang Yin, Ram I. Mahato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Ineffective drug delivery and poor prognosis are two major challenges in the treatment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). While there is significant downregulation of tumor suppressor microRNA-34a (miR-34a), which targets many oncogenes related to proliferation, apoptosis, and invasion, high expression level of Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) is closely associated with short survival rates of pancreatic cancer patients. Therefore, the objective is to codeliver miR-34a mimic and small molecule PLK1 inhibitor volasertib (BI6727) using poly(ethylene glycol)-poly[aspartamidoethyl(p-boronobenzyl)diethylammonium bromide] (PEG-B-PAEBEA). This polymer could self-assemble into micelles of â100 nm with 10% drug loading of volasertib and form a complex with miR-34a at the N/P ratio of 18 and higher. Combination treatment of volasertib and miR-34a displayed the synergistic effect and superior antiproliferative activity along with an enhanced G 2 /M phase arrest and suppression of colony formation, leading to cell death due to potential c-myc targeting therapeutics. Orthotopic pancreatic tumor bearing NSG mice were scanned for fluorescence by IVIS after systemic administration of micelles encapsulating volasertib and miR-34a at doses of 5 and 1 mg/kg, respectively. Cy5.5 concentration in plasma and major organs was determined by measuring fluorescence intensity. There was significant reduction in tumor volume, and histological examination of major organs suggested negligible systemic toxicity. In conclusion, PEG-B-PAEBEA micelles carrying volasertib and miR-34a mimic have the potential to treat pancreatic cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14647-14659
Number of pages13
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Apr 24 2019



  • ROS-responsive micelles
  • miR-34a
  • pancreatic cancer
  • polypeptide
  • volasertib

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

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