The prognosis of patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC) is generally poor. New treatments are required to supplement the current standard of care. Paclitaxel (PTX), an effective chemotherapeutic for HNSCC, has serious side effects. A polymeric nanocarrier system was developed for the delivery of PTX to improve HNSCC treatment. This study aimed to evaluate the antitumor efficacy of PTX-loaded polymeric nanoparticles based on α-TOS (PTX-NPs) administered by direct intratumoral injection into a Hypopharynx carcinoma squamous cells (FaDu) tumor xenograft mouse model. The nanocarrier system based on block copolymers of polyethylene glycol (PEG) and a methacrylic derivative of α-TOS was synthesized and PTX was loaded into the delivery system. Tumor volume was measured to evaluate the antitumor effect of the PTX-NPs. The relative mechanisms of apoptosis, cell proliferation, growth, angiogenesis, and oxidative and nitrosative stress were detected by Western blotting, fluorescent probes, and immunohistochemical analysis. The antitumor activity results showed that compared to free PTX, PTX-NPs exhibited much higher antitumor efficacy and apoptosis-inducing in a FaDu mouse xenograft model and demonstrated an improved safety profile. Ki-67, EGFR, and angiogenesis markers (Factor VIII, CD31, and CD34) expression were significantly lower in the PTX-NPs group compared with other groups (p < .05). Also, PTX-NPs induced oxidative and nitrosative stress in tumor tissue. Direct administration of PTX-loaded polymeric nanoparticles based on α-Tocopheryl Succinate at the tumor sites, proved to be promising for HNSCC therapy.
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.