Targeting delivery of paclitaxel into tumor cells via somatostatin receptor endocytosis

Chun Ming Huang, Ying Ta Wu, Shui Tein Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Background: The binding of somatostatin (SST) to endogenous G-protein-coupled receptors (SST receptors or SSTRs) is followed by internalization of SST, and, several reports have shown that a high density of SSTRs is present on most hormone-secreting tissue tumors. Facile synthesis of the long-acting SST analog, octreotide, has previously been described. Octreotide might be of practical value in developing tumor tracers and in serving as a carrier of cytotoxic antitumor drugs. Results: Fluorescein-labeled octreotide was internalized into the cytosol of human breast MCF-7 carcinoma cells via binding to SSTRs. Octreotide-conjugated paclitaxel (taxol) was created by coupling taxol-succinate to the amino-terminal end of octreotide. This conjugate retains the biological activity of taxol in inducing formation of tubulin bundles, eventually causing apoptosis of MCF-7 cells. Cytotoxicity of octreotide-conjugated taxol is mainly mediated by SSTR, as shown by the observation that octreotide pretreatment can rescue the induced cell death. In comparison with free taxol, this conjugate shows much less toxicity in Chinese hamster ovary cells. Conclusions: Octreotide-conjugated taxol exerts the same antitumor effect of free taxol on stabilizing microtubule formation and inducing cell death. This conjugate triggers tumor cell apoptosis mediated by SSTRs and is exclusively toxic to SSTR-expressing cells. Octreotide-conjugated taxol is less toxic to low-SSTR-expressing cells compared with free taxol. Our results strongly indicated that octreotide-conjugated taxol demonstrates cell selectivity and may be used as a targeting agent for cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-461
Number of pages9
JournalChemistry and Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2000


  • Apoptosis
  • Endocytosis
  • Octreotide
  • Paclitaxel
  • Somatostatin


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