Biodegradable gellan gum hydrogels loaded with paclitaxel for HER2+ breast cancer local therapy

Celia Nieto, Milena A. Vega, Víctor Rodríguez, Patricia Pérez-Esteban, Eva M. Martín del Valle*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hydrogels loaded with chemotherapeutics are promising tools for local tumor treatment. In this work, redox-responsive implantable hydrogels based on gellan gum were prepared as paclitaxel carriers for HER2-positive breast cancer therapy. To achieve different degrees of chemical crosslinking, hydrogels were synthesized in both acetate buffer and phosphate buffer and crosslinked with different concentrations of L-cysteine. It was shown that both, the type of buffer and the L-cysteine concentration used, conditioned the dynamic modulus, equilibrium swelling rate, porosity, and thermal stability of the hydrogels. Then, the biocompatibility of the hydrogels with the most suitable porosity for drug delivery applications was assessed. Once confirmed, these hydrogels were loaded with paclitaxel:β-cyclodextrin inclusion complexes, and they showed a glutathione-responsive controlled release of the taxane. Moreover, when tested in vitro, paclitaxel-loaded hydrogels exhibited great antitumor activity. Thus, they could act as excellent local tailored carriers of paclitaxel for future, post-surgical treatment of HER2-overexpressing breast tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119732
JournalCarbohydrate Polymers
Early online date15 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license 4.0

Funding Information:
This work was financially supported by Spanish Ministry of Sciences, Innovation and Universities ( PID2019-108994RB-I00 ). In addition, the authors thank the Microscopy Unit of the University of Valladolid for the SEM images, and the Thermal Analysis Laboratory of the Complutense University for the TGA.


  • Gellan gum
  • Glutathione
  • HER2-positive breast cancer
  • Hydrogel
  • Local chemotherapy
  • Paclitaxel
  • β-Cyclodextrin


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