2013 Volume 36 Issue 5 Pages 703-707
Liposomes are drug delivery systems that can alter the pharmacokinetic properties of compounds. The adverse effects of anticancer agents are a limiting factor for cancer chemotherapy, therefore, liposomal formulations have the potential to improve the therapeutic efficacy of anticancer agents by enhancing their accumulation in tumors and reducing non-selective distribution to normal tissues, which is known as the enhanced permeability and retention effect. To develop a liposomal anticancer agent as a drug product, its formulation must be designed to ensure its quality until it is administered to patients and to exert maximum potency in clinical use rather than in animal experiments. The chemical stability and physicochemical stability of the ingredients are key factors in the design of liposomal formulations. Drug release rates are critical factors in the therapeutic efficacy of liposomal drug products because the encapsulated drug has no pharmacological activity, and only released drug can exert antitumor/toxic activities. Liposomes should maintain the drug in a stable state in the circulation and then promptly release it after accumulation in the target tissue in order to achieve a sufficient drug concentration. To understand the profile of the formulation and to guarantee the quality of drug product, a reliable analytical method that can determine the released and encapsulated drugs in biological fluids is required. Simple online solid phase extractions of the released and encapsulated drugs using a column-switching HPLC system meet the requirements and this system enables accurate in vitro release testing and in vivo pharmacokinetic evaluation. This review introduces the process of liposomal drug product development from various viewpoints.