Design of a Small-Molecule Drug Conjugate for Prostate Cancer Targeted Theranostics

Amit Kumar, Tara Mastren, Bin Wang, Jer Tsong Hsieh, Guiyang Hao, Xiankai Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Targeted therapy has become an effective strategy of precision medicine for cancer treatment. Based on the success of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), here we report a theranostic design of small-molecule drug conjugates (T-SMDCs) for targeted imaging and chemotherapy of prostate cancer. The structure of T-SMDCs built upon a polyethylene glycol (PEG) scaffold consists of (i) a chelating moiety for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging when labeled with 68Ga, a positron-emitting radioisotope; (ii) a prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA) specific ligand for prostate cancer targeting; and (iii) a cytotoxic drug (DM1) for chemotherapy. For proof-of-concept, such a T-SMDC, NO3A-DM1-Lys-Urea-Glu, was synthesized and evaluated. The chemical modification of Lys-Urea-Glu for the construction of the conjugate did not compromise its specific binding affinity to PSMA. The PSMA-mediated internalization of 68Ga-labeled NO3A-DM1-Lys-Urea-Glu displayed a time-dependent manner, allowing the desired drug delivery and release within tumor cells. The antiproliferative activity of the T-SMDC showed a positive correlation with the PSMA expression level. Small animal PET imaging with 68Ga-labeled NO3A-DM1-Lys-Urea-Glu exhibited significantly higher uptake (p < 0.01) in the PSMA positive PC3-PIP tumors (4.30 ± 0.20%ID/g) at 1 h postinjection than in the PSMA negative PC3-Flu tumors (1.12 ± 0.42%ID/g). Taken together, we have successfully designed and synthesized a T-SMDC system for prostate cancer targeted imaging and therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1681-1689
Number of pages9
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 20 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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