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J Med Chem. 1999 Nov 18;42(23):4919-24.

Paclitaxel derivatives for targeted therapy of cancer: toward the development of smart taxanes.

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Departments of Radiation Oncology and Medicine, and The Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 35294, USA.


The pharmacologic efficacy of the promising antitumor agent paclitaxel (Taxol) may be potentially enhanced through derivatization of the drug to a water-soluble tumor-recognizing conjugate. This work reports the design and synthesis of the first tumor-directed derivative of paclitaxel. A 7-amino acid synthetic peptide, BBN[7-13], which binds to the cell surface bombesin/gastrin-releasing peptide (BBN/GRP) receptor, was conjugated to the paclitaxel-2'-hydroxy function by a heterobifunctional poly(ethylene glycol) linker. The resulting conjugate, designated PTXPEGBBN[7-13], was soluble to the upper limit of tested concentrations (250 mg/mL). The conjugate completely retained the receptor binding properties of the attached peptide as compared with those of the unconjugated BBN[7-13]. In experiments with NCI-H1299 human nonsmall cell lung cancer cells, the cytotoxicity of the PTXPEGBBN[7-13] conjugate at a 15 nM dose was enhanced by a factor of 17.3 for 24 h and 10 for 96 h exposure times, relative to paclitaxel. The IC(50) of the conjugate, tested against the same cell line, was lower than the free drug by a factor of 2.5 for both 24 h and 96 h exposures. These results describe, for the first time, the design and synthesis of a soluble tumor-directed paclitaxel prodrug which may establish a new mode for the utilization of this drug in cancer therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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