Increased Targeting Area in Tumors by Dual-Ligand Modification of Liposomes with RGD and TAT Peptides

Mohamadreza Amin*, Mercedeh Mansourian, Peter C. Burgers, Bahareh Amin, Mahmoud Reza Jaafari, Timo L.M. Ten Hagen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


Modification with polyethylene glycol (PEGylation) and the use of rigid phospholipids drastically improve the pharmacokinetics of chemotherapeutics and result in more manageable or reduced side-effects. A major drawback is retarded cellular delivery of content, which, along with tumor heterogeneity, are the two main obstacles against tumor targeting. To enhance cellular delivery and reach a bigger area of a tumor, we designed liposomes decorated with two ligands: one for targeting tumor vasculature via a cyclic-pentapeptide containing arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD), which impacts tumor independent of passive accumulation inside tumors, and one for extravascular targeting of tumor cells via a cell-penetrating peptide derived from human immunodeficiency virus type 1 transactivator of transcription (TAT). Liposomes with different ligand combinations were prepared and compared with respect to performance in targeting. Intravital imaging illustrates the heterogeneous behavior of RGD-liposomes in both intravascular and extravascular distribution, whereas TAT-liposomes exhibit a predictable extravascular localization but no intravascular targeting. Dual-ligand modification results in enhanced vascular targeting and a predictable extravascular behavior that improves the therapeutic efficacy of doxorubicin-loaded liposomes but also an augmented clearance rate of liposomes. However, the dual-modified liposome could be a great candidate for targeted delivery of non-toxic payloads or contrast agents for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes. Here we show that the combination of vascular-specific and tumor cell-specific ligands in a liposomal system is beneficial in bypassing the heterogeneous expression of tumor-specific markers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number458
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


Dive into the research topics of 'Increased Targeting Area in Tumors by Dual-Ligand Modification of Liposomes with RGD and TAT Peptides'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this