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Bioconjug Chem. 2013 Jul 17;24(7):1119-33. doi: 10.1021/bc3005304. Epub 2013 Jun 24.

Synthesis, biological evaluation, and in vivo imaging of the first camptothecin-fluorescein conjugate.

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Normandie University, COBRA, UMR 6014 and FR 3038, University of Rouen, INSA of Rouen, CNRS, 1 rue Tesnière 76821 Mont-Saint-Aignan, Cedex, France.


The first synthesis and photophysical properties of a fluorecently labeled camptothecin derivative, namely, camptothecin-FI (CPT-FI), an antitumoral agent that targets topoisomerase I, are reported. The preparation of this fluorescent conjugate is based on a highly convergent and flexible approach which enables the rapid chemical modification of the AB ring system of this fragile pentacyclic alkaloid, aimed at introducing an anchoring point to graft the fluorophore. The selection of a fluorescein analogue as the reporter group has enabled us to get the first green-emitting CPT conjugate exhibiting valuable spectral properties and retaining biological properties of native CPT. Indeed, in biological models, i.e., glioma cell lines U87 and/or T98, the kinetics of cell endocytosis, as well as the efficacy of CPT-FI were compared to those of CPT. CPT-FI fluorescence was measured in the cytosolic compartment of T98 glioma cells from 5 min treatment and remained detectable until 48 h. As CPT, CPT-FI drastically inhibited glioma growth and cell cycle but exhibited a reduced affinity as compared to the native CPT. In vivo and ex vivo imaging studies of CPT-FI intratumoraly injected into a model of NIH-3T3 murine tumor xenografts in nude mice, showed accumulation around the injected site area, which is very promising to target tumors and follow biodistribution in vivo.

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