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Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most common malignancy in men and is the leading cause of cancer-related male mortality. A disulfide cyclic peptide ligand [CTVRTSADC] 1 has been previously found to target extra domain B of fibronectin (EDB-FN) in the extracellular matrix that can di erentiate aggressive PCa from benign prostatic hyperplasia. We synthesized and optimized the stability of ligand 1 by amide cyclization to obtain [KTVRTSADE] 8 using Fmoc/tBu solid-phase chemistry. Optimized targeting ligand 8 was found to be stable in phosphate bu ered saline (PBS, pH 6.5, 7.0, and 7.5) and under redox conditions, with a half-life longer than 8 h. Confocal microscopy studies demonstrated increased binding of ligand 8 to EDB-FN compared to ligand 1. Therefore, we hypothesized that the EDB-FN targeted peptides (1 and 8) conjugated with an anticancer drug via a hydrolyzable linker would provide selective cytotoxicity to the cancer cells. To test our hypothesis, we selected both the normal prostate cell line, RWPE-1, and the cancerous prostate cell lines, PC3, DU-145, LNCaP, and C4-2, to evaluate the anticancer activity of synthesized peptide–drug conjugates. Docetaxel (Doce) and doxorubicin (Dox) were used as anticancer drugs. Dox conjugate 13 containing disulfide linkage showed comparable cytotoxicity versus Dox after 72 h incubation in all the cancer cell lines, whereas it was found to be less cytotoxic on RWPE-1, suggesting that it can act as a Dox prodrug. Doce conjugate 14 was found to be less cytotoxic in all the cell lines as compared to drug alone.


This article was originally published in International Journal of Molecular Sciences, volume 20, in 2019. DOI: 10.3390/ijms20133291


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