Synthesis and Evaluation of ePSMA-DM1: A New Theranostic Small-Molecule Drug Conjugate (T-SMDC) for Prostate Cancer

Erika Murce, Evelien Spaan, Savanne Beekman, Lilian van den Brink, Maryana Handula, Debra Stuurman, Corrina de Ridder, Simone U. Dalm, Yann Seimbille*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Small-molecule drug conjugates (SMDCs) are compounds in which a therapeutic payload is conjugated to a targeting vector, for specific delivery to the tumor site. This promising approach can be translated to the treatment of prostate cancer by selecting a targeting vector which binds to the prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA). Moreover, the addition of a bifunctional chelator to the molecule allows for the use of both diagnostic and therapeutic radionuclides. In this way, the distribution of the SMDC in the body can be monitored, and combination therapy regimes can be implemented. We combined a glutamate-urea-lysine vector to the cytotoxic agent DM1 and a DOTA chelator via an optimized linker to obtain the theranostic SMDC (T-SMDC) ePSMA-DM1. ePSMA-DM1 retained a high binding affinity to PSMA and demonstrated PSMA-specific uptake in cells. Glutathione stability assays showed that the half-life of the T-SMDC in a reducing environment was 2 h, and full drug release was obtained after 6 h. Moreover, 100 nM of ePSMA-DM1 reduced the cell viability of the human PSMA-positive LS174T cells by >85% after 72 h of incubation, which was comparable to a 10-fold higher dose of free DM1. [111In]In-ePSMA-DM1 and [177Lu]Lu-ePSMA-DM1 were both obtained in high radiochemical yields and purities (>95%), with >90% stability in PBS and >80% stability in mouse serum for up to 24 h post incubation at 37 °C. SPECT/CT imaging studies allowed for a faint tumor visualization of [111In]In-ePSMA-DM1 at 1 h p.i., and the ex vivo biodistribution showed tumor uptake (2.39 ± 0.29% ID/g) at 1 h p.i., with the compound retained in the tumor for up to 24 h. Therefore, ePSMA-DM1 is a promising T-SMDC candidate for prostate cancer, and the data obtained so far warrant further investigations, such as therapeutic experiments, after further optimization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1072
JournalPharmaceuticals
Volume16
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine of the Erasmus Medical Center.

Publisher Copyright: © 2023 by the authors.

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