Development and characterization of a novel peptide-drug conjugate with DM1 for treatment of FGFR2-positive tumors

Yayu Wang, Yadan Li, Jieqiong Cao, Qilin Meng, Xiaocen Li, Yibo Zhang, Kit S. Lam, An Hong, Ruiwu Liu, Xiaojia Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A maytansin derivative, DM1, is a promising therapeutic compound for treating tumors, but is also a highly poisonous substance with various side effects. For clinical expansion, we tried to develop novel peptide-drug conjugates (PDCs) with DM1. In the study, a one-bead one-compound (OBOC) platform was used to screen and identify a novel, highly stable, non-natural amino acid peptide targeting the tyrosine receptor FGFR2. Then, the identified peptide, named LLC2B, was conjugated with the cytotoxin DM1. Our results show that LLC2B has high affinity for the FGFR2 protein according to an isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) test. LLC2B-Cy5.5 binding to FGFR2- positive cancer cells was confirmed by fluorescent microscopic imaging and flow cytometry in vitro. Using xenografted nude mouse models established with breast cancer MCF-7 cells and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma KYSE180 cells, respectively, LLC2B-Cy5.5 was observed to specifically target tumor tissues 24 h after tail vein injection. Incubation assays, both in aqueous solution at room temperature and in human plasma at 37 °C, suggested that LLC2B has high stability and strong anti-proteolytic ability. Then, we used two different linkers, one of molecular disulfide bonds and another of a maleimide group, to couple LLC2B to the toxin DM1. The novel peptide-drug conjugates (PDCs) inhibited tumor growth and significantly increased the maximum tolerated dose of DM1 in xenografted mice. In brief, our results suggest that LLC2B-DM1 can be developed into a potential PDC for tumor treatment in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number849
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Cancer
  • FGFR2
  • One-bead one-compound (OBOC)
  • Peptide screening
  • Peptide-drug conjugates (PDCs)
  • Targeted therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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