Intracellular Delivery of Anti-SMC2 Antibodies against Cancer Stem Cells

Montero S, Seras-Franzoso J, Andrade F, Martinez-Trucharte F, Vilar-Hernández M, Quesada M, Xandri H, Arango D, Abasolo I, Rafael D, Schwartz S Jr.
Pharmaceutics. 2020 Feb 21;12(2). pii: E185. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics12020185.

Abstract

Structural maintenance of chromosomes protein 2 (SMC2) is a central component of the condensin complex involved in DNA supercoiling, an essential process for embryonic stem cell survival. SMC2 over-expression has been related with tumorigenesis and cancer malignancy and its inhibition is regarded as a potential therapeutic strategy even though no drugs are currently available. Here, we propose to inhibit SMC2 by intracellular delivery of specific antibodies against the SMC2 protein. This strategy aims to reduce cancer malignancy by targeting cancer stem cells (CSC), the tumoral subpopulation responsible of tumor recurrence and metastasis. In order to prevent degradation and improve cellular internalization, anti-SMC2 antibodies (Ab-SMC2) were delivered by polymeric micelles (PM) based on Pluronic® F127 amphiphilic polymers. Importantly, scaffolding the Ab-SMC2 onto nanoparticles allowed its cellular internalization and highly increased its efficacy in terms of cytotoxicity and inhibition of tumorsphere formation in MDA-MB-231 and HCT116 breast and colon cancer cell lines, respectively. Moreover, in the case of the HCT116 cell line G1, cell-cycle arrest was also observed. In contrast, no effects from free Ab-SMC2 were detected in any case. Further, combination therapy of anti-SMC2 micelles with paclitaxel (PTX) and 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) was also explored. For this, PTX and 5-FU were respectively loaded into an anti-SMC2 decorated PM. The efficacy of both encapsulated drugs was higher than their free forms in both the HCT116 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines. Remarkably, micelles loaded with Ab-SMC2 and PTX showed the highest efficacy in terms of inhibition of tumorsphere formation in HCT116 cells. Accordingly, our data clearly suggest an effective intracellular release of antibodies targeting SMC2 in these cell models and, further, strong cytotoxicity against CSC, alone and in combined treatments with Standard-of-Care drugs.