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Sustained potentiation of bystander killing via PTEN-loss driven macropinocytosis targeted peptide-drug conjugate therapy in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer

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Cho, Young Seok; Kim, Ha Rin; Park, Seong Jin; Chung, Seung Woo; Ko, Yoon Gun; Yeo, Joo Hye; Lee, Jinu; Kim, Sang Kyoon; Choi, Jeong Uk; Kim, Sang Yoon; Byun, Youngro

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Pergamon Press Ltd.
Biomaterials, Vol.289, p. 121783
© 2022 The AuthorsWhile conventional approaches for PTEN-loss cancers mainly focus on turning off growth promoting process through modulation of PI3K/AKT pathways, no effective therapeutic treatments that target PTEN-loss cancer cells have yielded results. Moreover, conventional targeted therapies, which are potent against only a subset of cancer cells with limited specificity, bring on temporary response. Here, we report the development of albumin-binding caspase-3 cleavable peptide-drug conjugate (PDC), which utilizes the enhanced albumin metabolism pathway in PTEN-loss cancer cells to enhance the intracellular delivery of chemotherapeutic payload that could exert a bystander killing effect. Albumin metabolism-mediated apoptosis triggered expression of caspase-3 allows the continuous activation of the PDC, accumulation of payloads, sustained upregulation of tumoral caspase-3, and intensified in-situ apoptosis. Importantly, PDC strategy exerts potent therapeutic efficacy against PTEN-loss metastatic triple-negative breast cancer, the highly aggressive and heterogenous nature of which remains a challenge conventional targeted therapies need to overcome. This study thus presents a conceptually novel approach to treat PTEN-loss cancer and creates new translational perspectives of exploiting PTEN-loss for providing an avenue to advance current targeted therapy.
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