Synthesis and biological evaluation of paclitaxel-C225 conjugate as a model for targeted drug delivery

Academic Article


  • Tumor-targeted drug delivery is an attractive strategy in cancer treatment. We have previously reported a paclitaxel model conjugate using a bombesin receptor-recognizing peptide in which the drug cytotoxicity against H1299 human nonsmall cell lung cancer was enhanced compared to unconjugated taxol. In an effort to expand the development of tumor-recognizing taxanes, paclitaxel (PTX, taxol) was conjugated to the anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (anti-EGFR) monoclonal antibody (MAb) Erbitux (C225) to serve as a model MAb-mediated drug delivery compound. Thus, paclitaxel was derivatized at its 2′-hydroxy function by introduction of a succinate linker, and the carboxyl group of the latter was covalently attached to C225 through amide bond formation. The final product conjugate (PTXC225) was analyzed mass spectrometrically for assessment of the drug-to-antibody ratios. Cytotoxicity screening of the drug-antibody conjugate against A431, UM-SCC-1, and UM-SCC-6 cells indicated an enhancement in cytocidal effect of paclitaxel as compared to those of the free drug, the intact antibody, and a physical mixture of the two (the controls). In A431 cells, the conjugate showed 25.2% ± 2.2% of apoptosis induction as compared to little or no apoptosis caused by the controls. Biodistribution analysis of the PTXC225 in tumor-implanted nude mice and a tyrosine-kinase assay showed that conjugation of the drug did not interfere with the immunoreactivity of the antibody. The 24-h tumor uptake of C225 and PTXC225 were 11.7% ± 6.0% and 7.1% ± 3.6% of the injected dose per gram of tissue (%ID/g), respectively, which were not significantly different. Also, in A431-implanted nude mice, the conjugate and C225 showed tumor growth inhibition effects of 57.2% and 41.2%, respectively, against a saline-treated control, which were not significantly different from each other. This lack of difference in the in vivo antitumor activity of the MAb-delivered drug and free PTX may be due to either a relatively low dose of the antibody-delivered drug (346 μg/kg), or an untimely release of it, or both. The tumor growth inhibition pattern of the conjugate, however, was identical to that of C225, indicating that the attachment of PTX did not affect the antigen-binding and growth inhibitory features of the MAb. These preliminary results demonstrate the potential of tumor-targeted delivery of taxol as a promising strategy in cancer treatment and warrant further work to develop more suitable drug-MAb linkers as well as improved dosage and treatment protocols.
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    Author List

  • Safavy A; Bonner JA; Waksal HW; Buchsbaum DJ; Gillespie GY; Khazaeli MB; Arani R; Chen DT; Carpenter M; Raisch KP
  • Start Page

  • 302
  • End Page

  • 310
  • Volume

  • 14
  • Issue

  • 2