The aim of this study was to formulate polyethylene glycol (PEG) based nanoparticulate camptothecin analog for oral administration and to evaluate its pharmacological activity. Camptothecin analog (CA) belongs to topoisomerase-I inhibitor class of compounds with proven antitumor activity but exhibits poor solubility. To enhance solubility and oral bioavailability, a PEG based nanoparticulate formulation was developed using a high pressure homogenization technique. The saturation solubility and dissolution characteristics of the nanoparticulate formulation were investigated and compared with as-is drug formulation to ascertain the impact of particle size on drug dissolution in physiologically relevant dissolution media. Systemic exposure of nanoparticulate formulation were evaluated in Wistar rats for increase in the rate and extent of drug absorption. The antitumor activity of nanoparticulate formulation was evaluated on human tumor xenografts (NCI-H460 cell lines) grown in athymic nude mice and compared with a positive control, Irinotecan Hydrochloride administered intravenously. The saturation solubility and dissolution rate of the nanoparticulate formulation were significantly higher as compared to as-is drug formulation. Pharmacokinetic (PK) studies in Wistar rats indicated significant increase in the rate and extent of absorption for the nanoparticulate formulation. Pharmacological activity of nanoparticles in athymic nude mice with implanted tumors revealed that the tumor inhibition activity was equivalent to Irinotecan Hydrochloride intravenous formulation with comparable safety profile at lower doses. These studies demonstrated the feasibility of developing a safe and efficacious oral formulation for a sparingly soluble camptothecin analog that may provide a viable, patient compliant and, cost effective option for the treatment of solid tumors.
Keywords: High-pressure homogenization, camptothecin analog, nanoparticles, low bioavailability, PEG, Dissolution rate, Soya lecithin, anti-tumor activity, xenograft, human non-small cell
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