Affiliation: Department of Pharmaceutics,Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Rutgers, The State University of NewJersey, 160 Frelinghuysen Road,Piscataway, NJ 08854-8020, USA.
This review is focused on liposomes as a delivery system for anticancer agents and more specifically on the advantages of using liposomes as drug nanocarrier in cancer chemotherapy. The main advantages of liposomal drugs over the non-encapsulated drugs include: (1) improved pharmacokinetics and drug release, (2) enhanced intracellular penetration, (3) tumor targeting and preventing adverse side effects and (4) ability to include several active ingredients in one complex liposomal drug delivery system (DDS). The review also includes our recent data on advanced liposomal anticancer drug delivery systems. As a conclusion we propose a novel liposomal DDS which includes inhibitors of pump resistance combined in one liposomal drug delivery system with an inhibitor of antiapoptotic cellular defense, an apoptosis inducer (a traditional anticancer drug) and a targeting moiety. The proposed drug delivery system utilizes a novel three tier approach, simultaneously targeting three molecular targets: (1) extracellular receptors or antigen expressed on the surface of plasma membrane of cancer cells in order to direct the whole system specifically to the tumor, preventing adverse side effects on healthy tissues; (2) drug efflux pumps in order to inhibit them and enhance drug retention by cancer cells, increasing intracellular drug accumulation and thereby limiting the need for prescribed high drug doses that cause adverse drug side effects; and (3) intracellular controlling mechanisms of apoptosis in order to suppress cellular antiapoptotic defense.