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Use of ratiometrically designed nanocarrier targeting CDK4/6 and autophagy pathways for effective pancreatic cancer treatment

Ying JiXiangsheng LiuJuan LiXiaodong XieMax HuangJinhong JiangYu-Pei LiaoTimothy DonahueHuan Meng*
Nature Communications

Aberrant cell cycle machinery and loss of the CDKN2A tumor suppressor locus make CDK4/6 a potential target in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). However, a vast majority of PDAC cases do not harbor a durable response to monotherapy of CDK4/6 inhibitor. Utilizing remote loading to co-encapsulate CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib (PAL) and an autophagy inhibitor hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), we demonstrate a ratiometrically designed mesoporous silica nanoformulation with synergistic efficacy in subcutaneous and orthotopic PDAC mouse models. The synergism is attributed to the effective intratumoral buildup of PAL/HCQ, which otherwise exhibit distinctly different circulatory and biodistribution profile. PAL/HCQ co-delivery nanoparticles lead to the most effective shrinkage of PDAC compared to various controls, including free drug mixture. Immunohistochemistry reveals that PAL/HCQ co-delivery nanoparticles trigger anti-apoptotic pathway after repetitive intravenous administrations in mice. When combined with a Bcl inhibitor, the performance of co-delivery nanoparticles is further improved, leading to a long-lasting anti-PDAC effect in vivo.