CD44-Targeted Polymer-Paclitaxel Conjugates to Control the Spread and Growth of Metastatic Tumors

Michal Zaiden, Marie Rütter, Lina Shpirt, Yvonne Ventura, Valeria Feinshtein, Ayelet David

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


One of the greatest challenges in cancer therapy is to control metastatic spread, seeding, and growth of tumors in distant organs. Recently, we reported on the design of a novel "drug-free" therapeutic copolymer bearing the antimigratory A5G27 peptide, designated P-(A5G27)-FITC, that shows excellent specificity to cancer cells overexpressing CD44v3 and CD44v6 and inhibits cancer cell migration and invasion. We demonstrated that P-(A5G27)-FITC accumulated preferentially in subcutaneous (sc) implanted 4T1 tumors following parenteral administration. Moreover, we showed that pretreatment of mice with P-(A5G27)-FITC prior to 4T1 cell inoculation inhibited colonization of circulating 4T1 cells in the lungs. In this study, we designed a new polymer-peptide-drug conjugate to inhibit vigorously growing primary tumors and control invasive behavior of cancer cells. To this end, the antimitotic drug (paclitaxel, PTX) was conjugated to P-(A5G27)-FITC. The targeted polymer-drug conjugate (P-(A5G27)-PTX) was significantly more toxic toward CD44-overexpressing cancer cells than the nontargeted copolymer. In vivo, a single iv injection of P-(A5G27)-PTX prolonged the survival of C57BL/6 mice with established B16-F10 lung metastases. When injected intraperitoneally into BALB/c mice implanted sc with 4T1 tumors, P-(A5G27)-PTX significantly decreased the rate of primary tumor growth, increased the median survival of mice, and reduced the number of 4T1 metastases in the lungs when compared to nontargeted copolymer. Most interestingly, the CD44-targeted "drug-free" copolymer P-(A5G27) (without PTX) significantly inhibited the rate of tumor growth and further prolonged the median survival time of mice to the same extent as the PTX-containing formulations (P-(A5G27)-PTX or free PTX). Overall, this study highlights the therapeutic potential of the HPMA copolymer-A5G27 conjugates ("drug-free" and PTX-bearing copolymers) to control the metastatic spread of cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3690-3699
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number9
StatePublished - 4 Sep 2018


  • CD44
  • invasion
  • metastasis
  • paclitaxel
  • polymer-drug conjugates
  • targeted cancer therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery


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