Biomater Sci. 2021 May 4;9(9):3445-3452. doi: 10.1039/d1bm00119a.
Multidrug resistance (MDR) is one of the prime reasons for the failure of cancer chemotherapy, which continues to be a great challenge to be solved. In this work, α-tocopherol succinate (α-TOS) and doxorubicin (DOX)-based self-delivery nanomedicine (designated as α-TD) is prepared to combat drug resistance for cancer synergistic chemotherapy. Carrier-free α-TD possesses a fairly high drug loading rate and improves the cellular uptake via the endocytosis pathway. More importantly, the apoptotic inducer α-TOS could elevate the reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, disrupt mitochondrial function and reduce adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP) production, which facilitate the intracellular drug retention while decreasing its efflux. As a result, α-TD achieves a considerable synergistic chemotherapeutic effect against drug resistant cancer cells. Moreover, it also exhibits a preferable inhibitory effect on tumor growth with a low system toxicity in vivo. This synergistic drug self-delivery strategy would open a new window for developing carrier-free nanomedicine for overcoming drug resistance in cancer therapy.