• Open Access

Dual functional octreotide-modified liposomal irinotecan leads to high therapeutic efficacy for medullary thyroid carcinoma xenografts


To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: yoshie@hoshi.ac.jp


Medullary thyroid carcinoma is a rare endocrine tumor, which shows overexpression of somatostatin receptor subtype 2. There is no systemic therapy for medullary thyroid carcinoma. Previously we reported that octreotide-PEG liposomes loaded with irinotecan, which target somatostatin receptor subtype 2, showed high therapeutic efficacy for medullary thyroid carcinoma xenografts compared with free irinotecan or non-targeted non-PEGylated liposomal irinotecan. In this study, we evaluated octreotide-PEG liposomes loaded with irinotecan in terms of the biodistribution of irinotecan and its active metabolite, and its therapeutic efficacy, compared with PEGylated liposomes. Furthermore, to elucidate the effect of octreotide ligand after cellular association, we assessed the cytotoxicity in tumor cells and the inhibition of protein phosphorylation in the tumor cells and xenografts using empty octreotide-PEG liposomes, which were loaded with no drug. In a therapeutic study, octreotide-PEG liposomes loaded with irinotecan significantly improved median survival compared with PEGylated liposomes. In tumor tissue at 6 h after injection, octreotide-PEG liposome-treated mice showed significantly higher concentrations of irinotecan and 7-ethyl-10-hydrocamptothecin compared with PEGylated liposome-treated mice, indicating that octreotide-PEG liposomes accumulated rapidly and to a high level in the tumor. Furthermore, empty octreotide-PEG liposome inhibited the phosphorylation of p70S6K in vitro and in vivo. These findings indicated that octreotide-PEG liposomal irinotecan has dual functions with targeted tumor delivery and assistance of cellular cytotoxicity, which led to higher therapeutic efficacy than PEGylated liposomes for medullary thyroid carcinoma xenografts. (Cancer Sci 2012; 103: 310–316)