Fine-tuning vitamin E-containing telodendrimers for efficient delivery of gambogic acid in colon cancer treatment

Wenzhe Huang, Xu Wang, Changying Shi, Dandan Guo, Gaofei Xu, Lili Wang, Alexa Bodman, Juntao Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Certain natural products such as gambogic acid (GA) exhibit potent antitumor effects. Unfortunately, administration of these natural products is limited by their poor solubility in conventional pharmaceutical solvents. In this study, a series of telodendrimers, composed of linear polyethylene glycol (PEG)-blocking-dendritic oligomer of cholic acid (CA) and vitamin E (VE), have been designed with architectures optimized for efficient delivery of GA and other natural anticancer compounds. Two of the telodendrimers with segregated CA and VE domains self-assembled into stable cylindrical and/or spherical nanoparticles (NPs) after being loaded with GA as observed under transmission electron microscopy (TEM), which correlated with the dynamic light scattering (DLS) analysis of sub-30 nm particle sizes. A very high GA loading capacity (3:10 drug/polymer w/w) and sustained drug release were achieved with the optimized telodendrimers. These novel nanoformulations of GA were found to exhibit similar in vitro cytotoxic activity against colon cancer cells as the free drug. Near-infrared fluorescence small animal imaging revealed preferential accumulation of GA-loaded NPs into tumor tissue. The optimized nanoformulation of GA achieved superior antitumor efficacy compared to GA-Cremophor EL formulation at equivalent doses in HT-29 human colon cancer xenograft mouse models. Given the mild adverse effects associated with this natural compound and the enhanced anticancer effects via tumor targeted telodendrimer delivery, the optimized GA nanoformulation is a promising alternative to the traditional chemotherapy in colon cancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1216-1229
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 18 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • colon cancer therapy
  • drug delivery
  • macromolecular architecture
  • nanoparticles
  • natural anticancer reagents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Drug Discovery


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