Development of methotrexate proline prodrug to overcome resistance by MDA-MB-231 cells

Document Type


Publication Date



The resistance to methotrexate by a number of cancer cells such as breast cancer cell-line MDA-MB-231 due to poor permeability renders it less effective as an anticancer agent for these cells. Proline prodrug of methotrexate (Pro-MTX) was designed as a substrate of prolidase which is specific for imido bond of dipeptide containing proline and expected to penetrate MDA-MB-231 cells more efficiently. The prodrug was synthesized by solid-phase peptide synthesis method and examined as a substrate of pure prolidase as well as cell homogenate. The cytotoxicity against MDA-MB-231 and non-methotrexate resistant breast cancer cell line, MCF-7 was also examined by XTT assay. The results showed that Pro-MTX was a substrate of prolidase. It was also shown that the prodrug could be converted to parent drug methotrexate in Caco-2 and HeLa cell homogenate. When tested with Caco-2 and MCF-7 cells, Pro-MTX showed weaker cytotoxicity compared with methotrexate. But for methotrexate resistant MDA-MB-231 cells, Pro-MTX showed stronger activity than methotrexate. The results indicated that the proline prodrug of methotrexate may overcome the resistance of human breast cancer cells in culture.

Publication Title

Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters





First Page


Last Page



This article was published in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters, Volume 20, Issue 17, Pages 5108-5112.

The published version is available at

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier.

This document is currently not available here.