Co-delivery of letrozole and cyclophosphamide via folic acid-decorated nanoniosomes for breast cancer therapy: synergic effect, augmentation of cytotoxicity and apoptosis gene expression

Hamidreza Sahrayi, Elham Hosseini, Sara Karimifard, Nazanin Khayam, Seyed Mohammadmahdi Meybodi, Sahar Amiri, Mahsa Bourbour, Bahareh Farasati Far, Iman Akbarzadeh, Mohammed Bhia, Clare Hoskins, Chaiyavat Chaiyasut

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Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent causes of cancer mortality in women. In order to increase patient prognosis and survival rates, new technologies are urgently required to deliver therapeutics in a more effective and efficient manner. Niosome nanoparticles have been recently employed as therapeutic platforms capable of loading and carrying drugs within their core for both mono and combination therapy. Here, niosome-based nanoscale carriers were investigated as a targeted delivery system for breast cancer therapy. The platform developed consists of niosomes loaded with letrozole and cyclophosphamide (NLC) and surface-functionalized with a folic-acid-targeting moiety (NLCPFA). Drug release from the formulated particles exhibited pH-sensitive properties in which the niosome showed low and high release in physiological and cancerous conditions, respectively. The results revealed a synergic effect in cytotoxicity by co-loading letrozole and cyclophosphamide with an efficacy increment in NLCPFA use in comparison with NLC. The NLCPFA resulted in the greatest drug internalization compared to the non-targeted formulation and the free drug. Additionally, downregulation of cyclin-D, cyclin-E, MMP-2, and MMP-9 and upregulating the expression of caspase-3 and caspase-9 genes were observed more prominently in the nanoformulation (particularly for NLCPFA) compared to the free drug. This exciting data indicated that niosome-based nanocarriers containing letrozole and cyclophosphamide with controlled release could be a promising platform for drug delivery with potential in breast cancer therapy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Early online date21 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2021


  • breast cancer
  • neoplasms
  • niosomes
  • drug delivery
  • nanoparticles
  • nanomedicine
  • letrozole
  • folic acid

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