Topical administration of anticancer drugs provides a potential chemotherapeutic modality with high patient compliance for cutaneous melanoma.
However, the drug delivery efficiency is highly limited by physiological barriers from the skin to the tumor, which cannot acquire desired therapeutic efficacy. Herein, we propose a paintable oligopeptide hydrogel containing paclitaxel (PTX)-encapsulated cell-penetrating-peptide (CPP)-modified transfersomes (PTX-CTs) to enhance transdermal PTX delivery for topical melanoma treatment.
After being plastered on the skin above the melanoma tumor, the PTX-CTs-embedded hydrogel (PTX-CTs/Gel) as a patch provided prolonged retention capacity of the PTX-CTs on the skin. The PTX-CTs with superior deformability could efficiently squeeze through the channels in the stratum coreum, and the surfactant components improved the fluidity of the lipid molecules in the stratum corneum to further enhance the skin permeation. Moreover, the CPP modification rendered the PTX-CT-enhanced penetration in the skin and tumor stroma as well as efficient transportation in the tumor cells.
The PTX-CTs were shown to effectively slow the tumor growth in combination with the systemic chemotherapy using Taxol, the commercial PTX formulation on the xenograft B10F16 melanoma mouse model.