PloS one

A polymeric prodrug of 5-fluorouracil-1-acetic acid using a multi-hydroxyl polyethylene glycol derivative as the drug carrier.

PMID 25389968


Macromolecular prodrugs obtained by covalently conjugating small molecular drugs with polymeric carriers were proven to accomplish controlled and sustained release of the therapeutic agents in vitro and in vivo. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) has been extensively used due to its low toxicity, low immunogenicity and high biocompatibility. However, for linear PEG macromolecules, the number of available hydroxyl groups for drug coupling does not change with the length of polymeric chain, which limits the application of PEG for drug conjugation purposes. To increase the drug loading and prolong the retention time of 5-fluorouracil (5-Fu), a macromolecular prodrug of 5-Fu, 5-fluorouracil-1 acid-PAE derivative (5-FA-PAE) was synthesized and tested for the antitumor activity in vivo. PEG with a molecular weight of 38 kDa was selected to synthesize the multi-hydroxyl polyethylene glycol derivative (PAE) through an addition reaction. 5-fluorouracil-1 acetic acid (5-FA), a 5-Fu derivative was coupled with PEG derivatives via ester bond to form a macromolecular prodrug, 5-FA-PAE. The in vitro drug release, pharmacokinetics, in vivo distribution and antitumor effect of the prodrug were investigated, respectively. The PEG-based prodrug obtained in this study possessed an exceedingly high 5-FA loading efficiency of 10.58%, much higher than the maximum drug loading efficiency of unmodified PEG with the same molecular weight, which was 0.98% theoretically. Furthermore, 5-FA-PAE exhibited suitable sustained release in tumors. This study provides a new approach for the development of the delivery to tumors of anticancer agents with PEG derivatives.

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Allyl glycidyl ether, ≥99%