Modulating paclitaxel bioavailability for targeting prostate cancer

Srinivas K. Kumar, Simon A. Williams, John T. Isaacs, Samuel R. Denmeade, Saeed R. Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Four novel water-soluble peptide-paclitaxel conjugates were designed and synthesized as prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-activated prodrugs for prostate cancer therapy. These prodrugs were composed of a peptide, HSSKLQ or SSKYQ, each of which is selectively cleavable by PSA; a self-immolative linker, either para-aminobenzyl alcohol (PABS) or ethylene diamine (EDA); and the parent drug, paclitaxel. Introduction of a PABA or EDA linker between the peptide and paclitaxel in prodrugs 2-5 resulted in products with an increased rate of hydrolysis by PSA. The stability of prodrugs 2 and 3, with the PABA linker, was poor in the serum-containing medium because of the weak carbonate bond between the PABA and paclitaxel; however, this disadvantage was overcome by introducing a carbamate bond using an EDA linker in prodrugs 4 and 5. Thus, the incorporation of an EDA linker increased both the stability and PSA-mediated activation of these prodrugs. The cytotoxicity of each prodrug, as compared to paclitaxel, was determined against a variety of cell lines, including the PSA-secreting CWR22Rv1 prostate cancer cell line. The EDA-derived prodrug of paclitaxel 5 was stable and capable of being efficiently converted to an active drug that killed cells specifically in the presence of PSA, suggesting that this prodrug and similarly designed PSA-cleavable prodrugs may have potential as prostate cancer-specific therapeutic agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4973-4984
Number of pages12
JournalBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 15 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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