Dithiocarbamate prodrugs activated by prostate specific antigen to target prostate cancer.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Disulfiram in conjunction with copper has been shown to be a potent anticancer agent. However, disulfiram's therapeutic potential in prostate cancer is hindered by off-target effects due to its reactive and nucleophilic thiol-containing component, diethyldithiocarbamate (DTC). To minimize undesirable reactivity, we have strategically blocked the thiol moiety in DTC with a cleavable p-aminobenzyl (pAB) group linked to peptide substrates recognized by prostate specific antigen (PSA). Here we report the synthesis and evaluation in cancer cell models of two PSA-activatable prodrugs: HPD (Ac-HSSKLQL-pAB-DTC and RPD (RSSYYSL-pAB-DTC). In vitro exposure to PSA was found to trigger activation of HPD and RPD to release diethyldithiocarbamate, and both prodrugs were found to induce toxicity in prostate cancer cells, with HPD showing the most promising selectivity. With copper supplementation, the IC50 of HPD was 1.4 µM in PSA-expressing LNCaP cells, and 11 µM in PC3 cells that do not express PSA. These studies demonstrate the utility of using peptide recognition handles to direct the activity of dithiocarbamate prodrugs for selective cytotoxicity of cancer cells.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bakthavatsalam, S; Wiangnak, P; George, DJ; Zhang, T; Franz, KJ

Published Date

  • June 1, 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 30 / 11

Start / End Page

  • 127148 -

PubMed ID

  • 32253061

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8330515

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1464-3405

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.bmcl.2020.127148


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England