Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen Targeted Therapy of Prostate Cancer Using a DUPA-Paclitaxel Conjugate

Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most prevalent cancer among men in the United States and remains the second-leading cause of cancer mortality in men. Paclitaxel (PTX) is the first line chemotherapy for PCa treatment, but its therapeutic efficacy is greatly restricted by the nonspecific distribution in vivo. Prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is overexpressed on the surface of most PCa cells, and its expression level increases with cancer aggressiveness, while being present at low levels in normal cells. The high expression level of PSMA in PCa cells offers an opportunity for target delivery of nonspecific cytotoxic drugs to PCa cells, thus improving therapeutic efficacy and reducing toxicity. PSMA has high affinity for DUPA, a glutamate urea ligand. Herein, a novel DUPA-PTX conjugate is developed using DUPA as the targeting ligand to deliver PTX specifically for treatment of PSMA expressing PCa. The targeting ligand DUPA enhances the transport capability and selectivity of PTX to tumor cells via PSMA mediated endocytosis. Besides, DUPA is conjugated with PTX via a disulfide bond, which facilitates the rapid and differential drug release in tumor cells. The DUPA-PTX conjugate exhibits potent cytotoxicity in PSMA expressing cell lines and induces a complete cessation of tumor growth with no obvious toxicity. Our findings give new insight into the PSMA-targeted delivery of chemotherapeutics and provide an opportunity for the development of novel active targeting drug delivery systems for PCa therapy.

Molecular pharmaceutics. 2018 Apr 05 [Epub ahead of print]

Qingzhi Lv, Jincheng Yang, Ruoshi Zhang, Zimeng Yang, Zhengtao Yang, Yongjun Wang, Youjun Xu, Zhonggui He

School of Pharmacy , Binzhou Medical University , 346 Guanhai Road , Yantai 264003 , China.