PEGylated TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-loaded sustained release PLGA microspheres for enhanced stability and antitumor activity

Tae Hyung Kim, Hai Hua Jiang, Chan Woong Park, Yu Seok Youn, Seulki Lee, Xiaoyuan Chen, Kang Choon Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The purpose of this work was to develop an effective PEGylated TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (PEG-TRAIL) delivery system for antitumor therapy based on local injection to tumor sites that has a sustained effect without protein aggregation or an initial release burst. The authors designed poly (lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA) microspheres that deliver PEG-TRAIL locally and continuously at tumor sites with sustained biological activity and compared its performance with that of TRAIL microspheres. TRAIL or PEG-TRAIL was microencapsulated into PLGA microspheres using a double-emulsion solvent extraction method. Prepared TRAIL and PEG-TRAIL microspheres showed entirely spherical, smooth surfaces. However, PEG-TRAIL microspheres exhibited a 2.07-fold higher encapsulation efficiency than TRAIL microspheres, and exhibited a tri-phasic in vitro release profile with a lower initial burst (15.8%) than TRAIL microspheres (42.7%). Furthermore, released PEG-TRAIL showed a continued ability to induce apoptosis over 14 days. In vivo pharmacokinetic studies also demonstrated that PEG-TRAIL microspheres had a sustained release profile (18 days), and that the steady-state concentration of PEG-TRAIL in rat plasma was reached at day 3 and maintained until day 15; its steady-state concentration in rat plasma changed from 1444.3 ± 338.4 to 2697.7 ± 419.7 pg/ml. However, TRAIL microspheres were released out within 2 days after administration. Finally, in vivo antitumor tests revealed that tumor growths were significantly more inhibited by a single dose of PEG-TRAIL microspheres than TRAIL microspheres when delivered at 300 μg of TRAIL/mouse. Tumors taken from mouse treated with PEG-TRAIL microspheres showed 78.3% tumor suppression at 24 days, and this was 3.02-fold higher than that observed for TRAIL microspheres (25.9% tumor inhibition). Furthermore, these improved pharmaceutical characteristics of PEG-TRAIL microspheres resulted in superior therapeutic effects without detectable side effects. These findings strongly suggest that PEG-TRAIL microspheres offer a new therapeutic strategy for the treatment of cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-69
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 28 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Antitumor
  • PEGylation
  • PLGA microspheres
  • Stability
  • Sustain release

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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