Research Progress on the Influence of Tumor Extracellular Matrix Mechanic Properties on Nanodrug Delivery

ZHAO Tian, WU Hao, CHEN Shihuan, WANG Jiawen, LIU Yiyao, LI Tingting


Nanodrugs are widely utilized in the biomedical fields, exhibiting immense potential in cancer therapy in particular. However, tumors exist in an extremely complicated microenvironment where substances like collagen are continuously deposited and remodeled, leading to significant alterations in the mechanical properties of the extracellular matrix (ECM) during tumor development. Previous research has primarily focused on the specific physicochemical properties of nanodrugs, such as particle size, electric charge, shape, surface chemistry, etc., and their effects on cellular uptake, cytotoxicity, and in vivo pharmacokinetics. Limited studies have been done to explore the impact of ECM mechanical properties on nanodrug delivery. In this review, we systematically summarized the relevant research findings on this topic from the perspective of the characteristics and testing methods of tumor ECM mechanics. Additionally, we made a thorough discussion of the potential mechanical and biological mechanisms involved in nanodrug delivery. We proposed several noteworthy research directions. Regarding the overall strategy, there is a need to emphasize targeted delivery that combines ECM mechanics and nanomechanics to achieve precise drug delivery. Regarding the spatial aspect, attention should be given to the nonlinear spatial mechanical heterogeneity within the interior of solid tumors and the construction of mechanic microenvironment-adaptive nanocarriers to improve the delivery efficiency. Regarding the temporal aspect, emphasis should be placed on the dynamic development and changes in the mechanical microenvironment during solid tumor growth and treatment processes. Based on the stromal mechanical characteristics of the tumor tissues of individual patients, personalized treatment strategies can be formulated, which will enhance treatment specificity and efficacy. In addition, issues such as mechanically targeted nanodrug delivery, degradation, and metabolism under dynamic ECM mechanical conditions warrant further investigation.

Keywords: Tumor matrix mechanics,  Nanodrug delivery,  Tumor microenvironment, Mechanobiological mechanism,  Review

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