Frontiers in Bioscience-Elite (FBE) is published by IMR Press from Volume 13 Issue 2 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Anticancer activity of drug conjugates in head and neck cancer cells
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Sexually transmitted oral cancer/head and neck cancer is increasing rapidly. Human papilloma virus (HPV) is playing a role in the pathogenesis of a subset of squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck (SCCHN). Paclitaxel is a widely used anticancer drug for breast, ovarian, testicular, cervical, non-small cell lung, head and neck cancer. However, it is water insoluble and orally inactive. We report the synthesis of water soluble nanosize conjugates of paclitaxel, branched PEG, and EGFR-targeting peptide by employing native chemical ligation. We performed a native chemical ligation between the N-hydroxy succinimide (NHS) ester of paclitaxel succinate and cysteine at pH 6.5 to give the cysteine-conjugated paclitaxel derivative. The thiol functionality of cysteine was activated and subsequently conjugated to multiarm thiol-PEG to obtain the paclitaxel branched PEG conjugate. Finally, we conjugated an EGFR-targeting peptide to obtain conjugates of paclitaxel, branched PEG, and EGFR-targeting peptide. These conjugates show anticancer activity against squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck cells (SCCHN, Tu212).