Selective tumor cell targeting by the disaccharide moiety of bleomycin

Zhiqiang Yu, Ryan M. Schmaltz, Trevor C. Bozeman, Rakesh Paul, Michael J. Rishel, Krystal S. Tsosie, Sidney Hecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

247 Scopus citations


In a recent study, the well-documented tumor targeting properties of the antitumor agent bleomycin (BLM) were studied in cell culture using microbubbles that had been derivatized with multiple copies of BLM. It was shown that BLM selectively targeted MCF-7 human breast carcinoma cells but not the "normal" breast cell line MCF-10A. Furthermore, it was found that the BLM analogue deglycobleomycin, which lacks the disaccharide moiety of BLM, did not target either cell line, indicating that the BLM disaccharide moiety is necessary for tumor selectivity. Not resolved in the earlier study were the issues of whether the BLM disaccharide moiety alone is sufficient for tumor cell targeting and the possible cellular uptake of the disaccharide. In the present study, we conjugated BLM, deglycoBLM, and BLM disaccharide to the cyanine dye Cy5**. It was found that the BLM and BLM disaccharide conjugates, but not the deglycoBLM conjugate, bound selectively to MCF-7 cells and were internalized. The same was also true for the prostate cancer cell line DU-145 (but not for normal PZ-HPV-7 prostate cells) and for the pancreatic cancer cell line BxPC-3 (but not for normal SVR A221a pancreas cells). The targeting efficiency of the disaccharide was only slightly less than that of BLM in MCF-7 and DU-145 cells and comparable to that of BLM in BxPC-3 cells. These results establish that the BLM disaccharide is both necessary and sufficient for tumor cell targeting, a finding with obvious implications for the design of novel tumor imaging and therapeutic agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2883-2886
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 27 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Selective tumor cell targeting by the disaccharide moiety of bleomycin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this