In vitro antiproliferative effects of albumin-doxorubicin conjugates against Ewing's sarcoma and peripheral neuroectodermal tumor cells.Anticancer Res. 1994 Sep-Oct; 14(5A):1943-50.AR
The 3-5 year survival rates of patients with disseminated Ewing's sarcoma (ES) or the closely related peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET) remain low, even under aggressive treatment involving highly toxic multidrug chemotherapeutic regimens. ES and PNET are sensitive to doxorubicin, but may escape treatment by expression of the multidrug-resistant phenotype and/or other mechanisms. In this study, we have identified albumin as growth supporting factor for ES and PNET cells in IGF-I-supplemented serum-free tissue culture medium. To investigate the specificity and toxicity of albumin-based drug conjugates, doxorubicin was coupled to bovine serum albumin (BSA) by either a two step glutaraldehyde or carbodiimide-C4-spacer technique, yielding monomeric DOX-albumin conjugates with conjugation numbers ranging from 3-20 moles DOX/mole BSA. Cellular uptake of fluorescein-isothiocyanate-(FITC)-labeled albumin and DOX-albumin conjugates could be demonstrated by flow cytometric measurements of cell-associated fluorescence and confocal microscopy. The cytostatic activity of these conjugates against ES/PNET cell lines, a neuroblastoma (LAN-1) and prostate cancer carcinoma cell line (PC-3) and normal lymphoblasts was tested in short-term proliferation assays (48 h). The results show a high selectivity of the DOX-albumin conjugates for ES/PNET cell lines, with highest growth inhibition by conjugates with low DOX conjugation numbers (n = 3) in serum-supplemented medium (17-32 fold loss of activity compared to free DOX), followed by 20-DOX-C4-albumin in serum-free medium and low activity of the other conjugates. In conclusion, DOX-albumin conjugates inhibit the growth of ES/PNET cell lines selectively, showing low activity against the unrelated carcinoma line PC-3 and sparing normal lymphoblasts. The inverse correlation of activity and conjugation number demonstrates a low cytotoxic activity of DOX in acid-stable binding to monomeric albumin, pointing to a selective cytostatic activity of the modified albumin against ES and PNET cells, even in the presence of a 100 fold excess of unmodified serum albumin.