Anti-cancer drugs

Human and murine macrophages mediate activation of MEN 4901/T-0128: a new promising camptothecin analogue-polysaccharide conjugate.

PMID 17075311


MEN 4901/T-0128 is a new cytotoxic prodrug constituted by the camptothecin analogue T-2513 bound to carboxymethyl dextran through a triglycine linker. MEN 4901/T-0128 was designed to target the active camptothecin at the tumour site. MEN 4901/T-0128 is weakly cytotoxic in vitro and thus T-2513 must be released from the conjugate to become active. Here, we demonstrated that human purified cathepsin B releases T-2513 from MEN 4901/T-0128 at pH values ranging from 3 to 5. pH dependency of this reaction suggests that cleavage of the linker should mainly occur in the lysosomes. As elevated cathepsin B activity has been described in macrophages, human tumour monocytic THP-1 cells differentiated into macrophage-like cells were used to study the cellular mechanisms responsible for MEN 4901/T-0128 antitumour activity. Here, we show that differentiated THP-1 internalizes MEN 4901/T-0128 efficiently in a time-dependent and concentration-dependent manner. After phagocytosis, THP-1 cells can cleave the prodrug and release T-2513 in the media. On the contrary, undifferentiated THP-1 cells or pancreatic ASPC-1 tumour cells, although expressing high levels of cathepsin B, are much less efficient in the release of cytotoxic moieties in the culture media. Moreover, normal murine macrophages, recovered from the peritoneal cavity or from the spleen, when activated (in vitro by 100 ng/ml phorbol 12-myristate-13-acetate and in vivo by 300 microl of 3% w/v thioglycollate solution), were able to release (after incubation with 10 microg/ml MEN 4901/T-0128) cytotoxic moieties in the culture supernatant, in an amount sufficient to kill human carcinoma A2780 cells. Thus, we suggest that tumour-associated macrophages may play a key role in the uptake of MEN 4901/T-0128, cleavage and local release of active moiety T-2513. This mechanism should support a tumour targeting of the cytotoxic moieties, allowing an improved antitumour efficacy/safety ratio for MEN 4901/T-0128.

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C5993 Cathepsin S from human spleen, lyophilized powder