Internalization and biodistribution of polymersomes into oral squamous cell carcinoma cells in vitro and in vivo

Craig Murdoch, Kim J. Reeves, Vanessa Hearnden, Helen Colley, Marzia Massignani, Irene Canton, Peter Jeppe Madsen, Adam Blanazs, Steve O. Armes, Andrew L. Lewis, Sheila MacNeil, Nicola J. Brown, Martin H. Thornhill, Giuseppe Battaglia

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The prognosis for oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is not improving despite advances in surgical treatment. As with many cancers, there is a need to deliver therapeutic agents with greater efficiency into OSCC to improve treatment and patient outcome. The development of polymersomes offers a novel way to deliver therapy directly into tumor cells. Here we examined the internalization and biodistribution of two different fluorescently labeled polymersome formulations; polyethylene oxide (PEO)-poly 2-(diisopropylamino)ethyl methacrylate (PDPA) and poly 2-(methacryloyloxy)ethyl phosphorylcholine (PMPC)-PDPA, into SCC4 OSCC cells in vitro and in vivo. In vitro SCC4 monolayers internalized PMPC-PDPA and PEO-PDPA at similar rates. However, in vivo PMPC-PDPA polymersomes penetrated deeper and were more widely dispersed in SCC4 tumors than PEO-PDPA polymersomes. In the liver and spleen PMPC-PDPA mainly accumulated in tissue macrophages. However, in tumors PMPC-PDPA was found extensively in the nucleus and cytoplasm of tumor cells as well as in tumor-associated macrophages. Use of PMPC-PDPA polymersomes may enhance polymersome-mediated antitumor therapy.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1025-1036
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodistribution
  • Cancer
  • Drug delivery
  • Oral squamous cell carcinoma
  • PMPC
  • Polymer
  • Polymersome
  • Tumor-associated macrophages


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