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Polyaspartamide-Doxorubicin Conjugate as Potential Prodrug for Anticancer Therapy

  • Authors: Di Meo, C.; Cilurzo, F.; Licciardi, M.; Scialabba, C.; Sabia, R.; Paolino, D.; Capitani, D.; Fresta, M.; Giammona, G.; Villani, C.; Matricardi, P.
  • Publication year: 2015
  • Type: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • Key words: Organic Chemistry; Molecular Medicine; Pharmacology (medical); Biotechnology; Pharmacology
  • OA Link:


Purpose: To synthesize a new polymeric prodrug based on α,β-poly(N-2-hydroxyethyl)(2-aminoethylcarbamate)-d,l-aspartamide copolymer bearing amine groups in the side chain (PHEA-EDA), covalently linked to the anticancer drug doxorubicin and to test its potential application in anticancer therapy.Methods: The drug was previously derivatized with a biocompatible and hydrophilic linker, leading to a doxorubicin derivative highly reactive with amino groups of PHEA-EDA. The PHEA-EDA-DOXO prodrug was characterized in terms of chemical stability. The pharmacokinetics, biodistribution and cytotoxicity of the product was investigated in vitro and in vivo on human breast cancer MCF-7 and T47D cell lines and NOD-SCID mice bearing a MCF-7 human breast carcinoma xenograft. Data collected were compared to those obtained using free doxorubicin.Results: The final polymeric product is water soluble and easily hydrolysable in vivo, due to the presence of ester and amide bonds along the spacer between the drug and the polymeric backbone. In vitro tests showed a retarded cytotoxic effect on tumor cells, whereas a significant improvement of the in vivo antitumor activity of PHEA-EDA-DOXO and a survival advantage of the treated NOD-SCID mice was evidenced, compared to that of free doxorubicin.Conclusions: The features of the PHEA-EDA-DOXO provide a potential protection of the drug from the plasmatic enzymatic degradation and clearance, an improvement of the blood pharmacokinetic parameters and a suitable body biodistribution. The data collected support the promising rationale of the proposed macromolecular prodrug PHEA-EDA-DOXO for further potential development and application in the treatment of solid cancer diseases.