D2A-Ala peptide derived from the urokinase receptor exerts anti-tumoural effects in vitro and in vivo

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D2A-Ala is a synthetic peptide that has been created by introducing mutations in the original D2A sequence, 130IQEGEEGRPKDDR142 of human urokinase receptor (uPAR). In vitro, D2A-Ala peptide displays strong anti-tumoural properties inhibiting EGF-induced chemotaxis, invasion and proliferation of a human fibrosarcoma cell line, HT 1080, and a human colorectal adenocarcinoma cell line, HT 29. D2A-Ala exerts its effects by preventing EGF receptor (EGFR) phosphorylation.

To test D2A-Ala in vivo, this peptide was PEGylated generating polyethyleneglycol (PEG)-D2A-Ala peptide. PEGylation did not alter the inhibitory properties of D2A-Ala. Human tumour xenografts in the immunodeficient nude mice using HT 1080 and HT 29 cell lines showed that PEG-D2A-Ala significantly prevents tumour growth decreasing size, weight and density of tumours. The most efficient doses of the peptide were 5 and 10 mg/kg, thereby relevant for possible development of the peptide into a drug against cancer in particular tumours expressing EGFR.

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