Itraconazole (ITR) is a broad-spectrum antifungal drug, which has been shown to possess some promising anticancer, anti-proliferative, and anti-angiogenic properties in some cancers, such as cancers of the lung, breast, and skin. However, ITR has some drawbacks, such as poor water solubility, which hinder its use as a therapeutic agent. Therefore, in the present study, we developed and characterized chitosan-coated PLGA nanoparticles of itraconazole and studied their anticancer activities in H1299 lung cancer cells. The prepared ITR nanoparticles showed a small particle size, narrow poly dispersity index (PDI), positive zeta potential, and a controlled drug release profile. The cytotoxicity of ITR nanoparticles (NPs) on H1299 cancer cells after 24 h of exposure was greater than that of the ITR solution. Apoptosis of cancer cells exposed to ITR nanoparticles was also enhanced in comparison with the ITR solution. At the molecular level, ITR NPs were more effective than ITR solution in inducing pro-apoptotic Bax and p53 while reducing anti-apoptotic Bcl2 protein expression. ITR NPs were more effective than ITR solution in arresting cells both at the G0/G1 as well as G2/M phases of the cell cycle. Hence, repurposing itraconazole by encapsulation into PLGA NPs with chitosan coating is a potentially promising approach to treat lung cancers.
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