Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Camptothecin (CPT) is a potent antitumor agent and functions via inhibiting the activity of topoisomerase I during DNA replication. However, the clinical application of CPT has been greatly hindered by its extremely poor solubility, the instability of its active lactone ring in blood stream, as well as the non-specific toxicity to normal tissues. In addition, most of the formulations developed so far are not applicable for formulating CPT. In this study, two novel CPT prodrugs were developed by conjugating CPT to α-tocopherol via a carbonate ester bond (CPT-VE) or disulfide linkage (CPT-S-S-VE). Both CPT prodrugs were able to self-assemble into nanofibers with the facilitation of a PEG5K-Fmoc-VE2-based nanomicellar carrier. Both prodrug nanoassemblies exhibited excellent stability. Fluorescence quenching, UV absorbance, and FT-IR studies demonstrated strong interactions between carrier and prodrugs, including hydrophobic interaction, π-π stacking, as well as hydrogen bonding. NMR studies suggested that prodrugs were successfully incorporated into PEG5K-Fmoc-VE2 during self-assembly process. In vitro, PEG5K-Fmoc-VE2/CPT-S-S-VE presented significantly higher level of cytotoxicity on tumor cells compared to PEG5K-Fmoc-VE2/CPT-VE. Biodistribution study showed that CPT-S-S-VE formulated in PEG5K-Fmoc-VE2 micelles was effectively converted to parent CPT following delivery to tumor tissues. Finally, PEG5K-Fmoc-VE2/CPT-S-S-VE nanofibers showed superior tumor growth inhibition in an aggressive murine breast cancer model (4T1.2).

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





176 - 187


Camptothecin, Chemotherapy, Disulfide-responsive release, Nanofibers, Tocopherol-based prodrug, Animals, Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols, Breast Neoplasms, Camptothecin, Cell Line, Tumor, Cell Survival, Diffusion, Drug Compounding, Drug Stability, Drug Synergism, Mice, Nanocapsules, Particle Size, Prodrugs, Tocopherols, Treatment Outcome