An Oral 3D Printed PLGA-Tocopherol PEG Succinate Nanocomposite Hydrogel for High-Dose Methotrexate Delivery in Maintenance Chemotherapy

Biomedicines 2022 Volume 10, Issue 7, Article 1470

High-dose methotrexate (HDMTX) is one of the chemotherapeutic agents used to treat a variety of cancers in both adults and children. However, the toxicity associated with HDMTX has resulted in the spread of infections and treatment interruption. Further, poor bioavailability due to efflux pump activities mediated by P-glycoprotein has also been linked to poor therapeutic effects of methotrexate following oral administrations. D-α-Tocopheryl poly-ethylene glycol 1000 succinate (TPGS) is known to improve the bioavailability of poorly soluble drugs by inhibiting P-gp efflux activities, thus enhancing cellular uptake. Therefore, to achieve improved bioavailability for MTX, this study aimed to design and develop a novel drug delivery system employing TPGS and a biodegradable polymer, i.e., PLGA, to construct methotrexate-loaded nanoparticles fixated in alginate-gelatine 3D printable hydrogel ink to form a solid 3D printed tablet for oral delivery. The results indicated that high accuracy (>95%) of the 3D printed tablets was achieved using a 25 G needle. In vitro, drug release profiles were investigated at pH 1.2 and pH 7.4 to simulate the gastrointestinal environment. The in vitro release profile displayed a controlled and prolonged release of methotrexate over 24 h. The in silico modeling study displayed P-gp ATPase inhibition, suggesting enhanced MTX absorption from the gastrointestinal site. The 3D-printed hydrogel-based tablet has the potential to overcome the chemotherapeutic challenges that are experienced with conventional therapies.