Background & Objective: Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. One of the most effective treatments for breast cancer is chemotherapy, in which specific drugs destroy the mass and its proliferation is inhibited. Chemotherapy is the most effective adjunctive therapy when multiple medications are used concurrently. Also, combining the drugs with nanocarrier has become an important strategy in targeted therapy. This study is designed to assess the apoptosis induction, cell cycle arrest, and anti-cancer potential of Tamoxifen-Curcumin-loaded niosomes against MCF-7 Cancer Cells.
Methods: A novel niosomal formulation of tamoxifen-curcumin with Span 80 and lipid to drug ratio of 20 was employed. The MCF-7 cells were cultured and then treated with IC50 value of tamoxifen-curcumin-loaded niosomes, the combination of tamoxifen and curcumin, tamoxifen, and curcumin alone. Flow cytometry, Real-Time PCR, and cell cycle analysis tests were conducted to evaluate the induction of apoptosis.
Results: Drug-loaded niosomes caused up-regulation of bax and p53 genes and down-regulation of bcl2 gene. Flow cytometry studies showed that niosomes containing tamoxifen-curcumin increased apoptosis rate in MCF-7 cells compared to the combination of tamoxifen and curcumin owing to the synergistic effect between the two drugs along with higher cell uptake by formulation niosomal. These results were also confirmed by cell cycle analysis.
Conclusion: Co-delivery of curcumin and tamoxifen using optimized niosomal formulation revealed that at acidic pH of MCF-7 cancer cells, released drugs from niosomal carriers would be more effective than physiological pH. This feature of niosomal nanoparticles can reduce the side effects of drugs in normal cells. Niosomal nanoparticles might be used as a biological anti-cancer factor in treatment of breast cancer.