Prostate cancer targeted peptide prodrugs that are activated by the serine protease activity of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) are under development in our laboratory. To enhance delivery and solubility of these prodrugs, macromolecular carriers consisting of N-(2-hydroxypropyl) methacrylamide (HPMA)-based copolymers were covalently coupled to a PSA-activated peptide prodrug. HPMA copolymers are water-soluble, nonimmunogenic synthetic carriers that exhibit promise for drug delivery applications. These macromolecular copolymers enter the interstitium of solid tumors by the enhanced permeability and retention effect. The PSA-activated peptide substrate imparts selectivity because it is specifically hydrolyzed to release a cytotoxin at the site of prostate tumor. Enzymatically active PSA is present in high amounts in the extracellular fluid of a tumor, but PSA is inactivated in blood by binding to serum protease inhibitors. As an initial proof of concept, the HPMA copolymer was synthesized with a peptide substrate (HSSKLQ) bound to a fluorophore, 7-amino-4-methylcoumarin (AMC). PSA cleavage of the HPMA-HSSKLQ-AMC copolymer was observed, which led to the synthesis of an HPMA-based copolymer with the prodrug SSKYQ-L12ADT [HPMA-morpholinocarbonyl-Ser-Ser-Lys-Tyr-Gln-Leu-12- aminododecanoyl thapsigargin (JHPD)]. L12ADT is a potent analogue of the highly cytotoxic natural product thapsigargin. HPMA-JHPD was hydrolyzed by PSA in vitro and was toxic to prostate cancer cells in the presence of active PSA. The HPMA-JHPD produced no systemic toxicity when given at a 500 μmol/L L12ADT equivalent dose. Analysis of tumor tissue from mice treated with a single or multiple dose of the HPMA-JHPD copolymer showed release and accumulation of the L12ADT toxin within the tumor tissue.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research