Enhancement of Anticancer Efficacy and Tumor Penetration of Sorafenib by Ionic Liquids

Yujie Shi, Zongmin Zhao, Kevin Peng, Yongsheng Gao, Debra Wu, Jayoung Kim, Samir Mitragotri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Ionic liquids (ILs) possess unique solvation and biological properties for drug delivery. Choline and geranic acid (CAGE) in particular, has been successfully formulated to orally deliver insulin and hydrophobic therapeutics such as sorafenib (SRF). However, relatively little is known about the effect of CAGE on intracellular delivery of drugs. Here the effect of low-concentration CAGE (<2 mg mL−1) on the delivery of SRF into cancer cells (4T1, PANC-1, and HT29) as well as intestine epithelium cells (Caco-2) is studied. The anti-cancer effect of SRF is enhanced by up to fivefold in the presence of CAGE (0.5 mg mL−1). The effect is mediated not by enhancing the cellular uptake of SRF but by improving intracellular SRF retention by inhibiting exocytosis. Moreover, CAGE improves the anti-tumor effect of SRF by increasing apoptosis and blocking cell-cycle progression. Moreover, CAGE significantly enhances the penetration of SRF into and across multicellular constructs with multiple mechanisms involved. Collectively, the administration of ILs such as CAGE combined with SRF may offer a novel therapy to better inhibit tumor progression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2001455
JournalAdvanced Healthcare Materials
Issue number2
StatePublished - 20 Jan 2021


  • apoptosis
  • cell cycles
  • exocytosis
  • ionic liquids
  • penetration
  • sorafenib


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