Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Doxorubicin loaded Polymeric Nanoparticulate Delivery System to overcome drug resistance in osteosarcoma

Michiro Susa12, Arun K Iyer34, Keinosuke Ryu12, Francis J Hornicek12, Henry Mankin2, Mansoor M Amiji3 and Zhenfeng Duan12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA

2 Sarcoma Biology Laboratory, Center for Sarcoma and Connective Tissue Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA

3 Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA

4 Current address: Department of Radiology, Center for Molecular & Functional Imaging, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA

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BMC Cancer 2009, 9:399  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-399

Published: 16 November 2009



Drug resistance is a primary hindrance for the efficiency of chemotherapy against osteosarcoma. Although chemotherapy has improved the prognosis of osteosarcoma patients dramatically after introduction of neo-adjuvant therapy in the early 1980's, the outcome has since reached plateau at approximately 70% for 5 year survival. The remaining 30% of the patients eventually develop resistance to multiple types of chemotherapy. In order to overcome both the dose-limiting side effects of conventional chemotherapeutic agents and the therapeutic failure incurred from multidrug resistant (MDR) tumor cells, we explored the possibility of loading doxorubicin onto biocompatible, lipid-modified dextran-based polymeric nanoparticles and evaluated the efficacy.


Doxorubicin was loaded onto a lipid-modified dextran based polymeric nano-system. The effect of various concentrations of doxorubicin alone or nanoparticle loaded doxorubicin on KHOS, KHOSR2, U-2OS, and U-2OSR2 cells was analyzed. Effects on drug retention, immunofluorescence, Pgp expression, and induction of apoptosis were also analyzed.


Dextran nanoparticles loaded with doxorubicin had a curative effect on multidrug resistant osteosarcoma cell lines by increasing the amount of drug accumulation in the nucleus via Pgp independent pathway. Nanoparticles loaded with doxorubicin also showed increased apoptosis in osteosarcoma cells as compared with doxorubicin alone.


Lipid-modified dextran nanoparticles loaded with doxorubicin showed pronounced anti-proliferative effects against osteosarcoma cell lines. These findings may lead to new treatment options for MDR osteosarcoma.