Targeted single-wall carbon nanotube-mediated Pt(IV) prodrug delivery using folate as a homing device

Shanta Dhar, Zhuang Liu, Jürgen Thomale, Hongjie Dai, Stephen J. Lippard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

571 Scopus citations


Most low-molecular-weight platinum anticancer drugs have short blood circulation times that are reflected in their reduced tumor uptake and intracellular DNA binding. A platinum(IV) complex of the formula c,c,t-[Pt(NH3)2Cl2(O2CCH 2CHC2O2H)(O2CCH2CH 2CONH-PEG-FA)] (1), containing a folate derivative (FA) at an axial position, was prepared and characterized. Folic acid offers a means of targeting human cells that highly overexpress the folate receptor (FR). Compound 1 was attached to the surface of an amine-functionalized single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT-PL-PEG-NH2) through multiple amide linkages to use the SWNTs as a "longboat delivery system" for the platinum warhead, carrying it to the tumor cell and releasing cisplatin upon intracellular reduction of Pt(IV) to Pt(II). The ability of SWNT tethered 1 to destroy selectively FR(+) vs FR(-) cells demonstrated its ability to target tumor cells that overexpress the FR on their surface. That the SWNTs deliver the folate-bearing Pt(IV) cargos into FR(+) cancer cells by endocytosis was demonstrated by the localization of fluorophore-labeled SWNTs using fluorescence microscopy. Once inside the cell, cisplatin, formed upon reductive release from the longboat oars, enters the nucleus and reacts with its target nuclear DNA, as determined by platinum atomic absorption spectroscopy of cell extracts. Formation of the major cisplatin 1,2-intrastrand d(GpG) cross-links on the nuclear DNA was demonstrated by use of a monoclonal antibody specific for this adduct. The SWNT-tethered compound 1 is the first construct in which both the targeting and delivery moieties have been incorporated into the same molecule; it is also the first demonstration that intracellular reduction of a Pt(IV) prodrug leads to the cis-{Pt((NH 3)2} 1,2-intrastrand d(GpG) cross-link in nuclear DNA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11467-11476
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number34
StatePublished - Aug 27 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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