α-Tocopheryl Succinate-Based Polymeric Nanoparticles for the Treatment of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

The aim of this work is to study, in an in vitro head and neck squamous cell carcinomas model the anti-angiogenic and anti-migratory properties of self-assembled polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) with demonstrated selective anticancer activity. The NPs are based on α-tocopheryl succinate (α-TOS) encapsulated in the hydrophobic core of the NPs. We analyzed the effect of the newly synthetized α-TOS-loaded NPs in proliferating endothelial cells and hypopharynx carcinoma squamous cells and measured markers of angiogenesis, apoptosis and reactive oxygen species (ROS). α-TOS-loaded NPs suppressed angiogenesis by inducing accumulation of ROS and inducing apoptosis of proliferating endothelial cells. These NPs also decrease the number and quality of capillary-like tubes in an in vitro three-dimensional (3D) experiment, decrease the production of the pro-angiogenic vascular endothelial growth factor and down-regulate the expression of its receptor. The anti-migratory efficacy of α-TOS is corroborated in hypopharynx carcinoma cells by decreasing the secretion of matrix metalloproteases 2 and 9 (MMP-2 and MMP-9) and inhibiting cell migration. These results confirm that α-TOS-based NPs not only present anticancer properties, but also antiangiogenic properties, therefore making them promising candidates for multi-active combinatorial anticancer therapy.

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