A single dose of doxorubicin-functionalized bow-tie dendrimer cures mice bearing C-26 colon carcinomas

Cameron C. Lee, Elizabeth R. Gillies, Megan E. Fox, Steven J. Guillaudeu, Jean M.J. Fréchet*, Edward E. Dy, Francis C. Szoka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

592 Scopus citations


The antitumor effect of doxorubicin (DOX) conjugated to a biodegradable dendrimer was evaluated in mice bearing C-26 colon carcinomas. An asymmetric biodegradable polyester dendrimer containing 8-10 wt % DOX was prepared. The design of the dendrimer carrier optimized blood circulation time through size and molecular architecture, drug loading through multiple attachment sites, solubility through PEGylation, and drug release through the use of pH-sensitive hydrazone linkages. In culture, dendrimer-DOX was > 10 times less toxic than free DOX toward C-26 colon carcinoma cells after exposure for 72 h. Upon i.v. administration to BALB/c mice with s.c. C-26 tumors, dendrimer-DOX was eliminated from the serum with a half-life of 16 ± 1 h, and its tumor uptake was ninefold higher than i.v. administered free DOX at 48 h. In efficacy studies performed with BALB/c mice bearing s.c. C-26 tumors, a single i.v. injection of dendrimer-DOX at 20 mg/kg DOX equivalents 8 days after tumor implantation caused complete tumor regression and 100% survival of the mice over the 60-day experiment. No cures were achieved in tumor-implanted mice treated with free DOX at its maximum tolerated dose (6 mg/kg), drug-free dendrimer, or dendrimer-DOX in which the DOX was attached by means of a stable carbamate bond. The antitumor effect of dendrimer-DOX was similar to that of an equimolar dose of liposomal DOX (Doxil). The remarkable antitumor activity of dendrimer-DOX results from the ability of the dendrimer to favorably modulate the pharmacokinetics of attached DOX.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16649-16654
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number45
StatePublished - Nov 7 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Antitumor
  • Dendrimer prodrug
  • Molecular architecture
  • Nanomedicine
  • Therapeutic effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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