Enhanced in vitro antitumor activity of gnRH-III-daunorubicin bioconjugates influenced by sequence modification

Sabine Schuster, Beáta Biri-Kovács, Bálint Szeder, László Buday, János Gardi, Zsuzsanna Szabó, Gábor Halmos, Gábor Mező

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Receptors for gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) are highly expressed in various human cancers including breast, ovarian, endometrial, prostate and colorectal cancer. Ligands like human GnRH-I or the sea lamprey analogue GnRH-III represent a promising approach for the development of efficient drug delivery systems for targeted tumor therapy. Here, we report on the synthesis and cytostatic effect of 14 oxime bond-linked daunorubicin GnRH-III conjugates containing a variety of unnatural amino acids within the peptide sequence. All compounds demonstrated a reduced cell viability in vitro on estrogen receptor α (ERα) positive and ERα negative cancer cells. The best candidate revealed an increased cancer cell growth inhibitory effect compared to our lead-compound GnRH-III-[4 Lys(Bu),8 Lys(Dau=Aoa)]. Flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy studies showed that the cellular uptake of the novel conjugate is substantially improved leading to an accelerated delivery of the drug to its site of action. However, the release of the active drug-metabolite by lysosomal enzymes was not negatively affected by amino acid substitution, while the compound provided a high stability in human blood plasma. Receptor binding studies were carried out to ensure a high binding affinity of the new compound for the GnRH-receptor. It was demonstrated that GnRH-III-[2 ∆His,3 D-Tic,4 Lys(Bu),8 Lys(Dau=Aoa)] is a highly potent and promising anticancer drug delivery system for targeted tumor therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number223
Number of pages19
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Antitumor activity
  • Cellular uptake
  • Daunorubicin
  • Drug delivery system
  • Gonadotropin releasing hormone III
  • Oxime linkage
  • Peptide drug conjugates
  • Targeted cancer therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Enhanced in vitro antitumor activity of gnRH-III-daunorubicin bioconjugates influenced by sequence modification'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this