Korean J Physiol Pharmacol.  2021 Sep;25(5):479-488. 10.4196/kjpp.2021.25.5.479.

Docetaxel-loaded PLGA nanoparticles to increase pharmacological sensitivity in MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 breast cancer cells

  • 1College of Pharmacy, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 34134, Korea


This study aimed to develop docetaxel (DTX) loaded poly(lactic-coglycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles (DTX-NPs) and to evaluate the different pharmacological sensitivity of NPs to MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. NPs containing DTX or coumarin-6 were prepared by the nanoprecipitation method using PLGA as a polymer and d-α-tocopherol polyethylene glycol 1000 succinate (TPGS) as a surfactant. The physicochemical properties of NPs were characterized. In vitro anticancer effect and cellular uptake were evaluated in breast cancer cells. The particle size and zeta potential of the DTX-NPs were 160.5 ± 3.0 nm and –26.7 ± 0.46 mV, respectively. The encapsulation efficiency and drug loading were 81.3 ± 1.85% and 10.6 ± 0.24%, respectively. The In vitro release of DTX from the DTX-NPs was sustained at pH 7.4 containing 0.5% Tween 80. The viability of MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cells with DTX-NPs was 37.5 ± 0.5% and 30.3 ± 1.13%, respectively. The IC 50 values of DTX-NPs were 3.92- and 6.75-fold lower than that of DTX for MDA-MB-231 cells and MCF-7 cells, respectively. The cellular uptake of coumarin-6-loaded PLGA-NPs in MCF-7 cells was significantly higher than that in MDA-MB-231 cells. The pharmacological sensitivity in breast cancer cells was higher on MCF-7 cells than on MDA-MB-231 cells. In conclusion, we successfully developed DTX-NPs that showed a great potential for the controlled release of DTX. DTX-NPs are an effective formulation for improving anticancer effect in breast cancer cells.


Breast cancer; Cell viability; Docetaxel; Nanoparticles
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