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Bioconjug Chem. 2002 Jul-Aug;13(4):855-69.

Cathepsin B-labile dipeptide linkers for lysosomal release of doxorubicin from internalizing immunoconjugates: model studies of enzymatic drug release and antigen-specific in vitro anticancer activity.

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Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, P.O. Box 5100, Wallingford, Connecticut 06492, USA.


The anticancer drug doxorubicin (DOX) has been linked to chimeric BR96, an internalizing monoclonal antibody that binds to a Lewis(y)-related, tumor-associated antigen, through two lysosomally cleavable dipeptides, Phe-Lys and Val-Cit, giving immunoconjugates 72 and 73. A self-immolative p-aminobenzyloxycarbonyl (PABC) spacer between the dipeptides and the DOX was required for rapid and quantitative generation of free drug. DOX release from model substrate Z-Phe-Lys-PABC-DOX 49 was 30-fold faster than from Z-Val-Cit-PABC-DOX 42 with the cysteine protease cathepsin B alone, but rates were identical in a rat liver lysosomal preparation suggesting the participation of more than one enzyme. Conjugates 72 and 73 showed rapid and near quantitative drug release with cathepsin B and in a lysosomal preparation, while demonstrating excellent stability in human plasma. Against tumor cell lines with varying levels of BR96 expression, both conjugates showed potent, antigen-specific cytotoxic activity, suggesting that they will be effective in delivering DOX selectively to antigen-expressing carcinomas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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