Anti-cancer Therapies That Utilize Cell Penetrating Peptides

Recent Pat Anticancer Drug Discov. 2010 Jun;5(2):99-108. doi: 10.2174/157489210790936252.


Cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) are 9-35mer cationic and/or amphipathic peptides that are rapidly internalized across cell membranes. Importantly, they can be linked to a variety of cargo, including anti-cancer therapeutics, making CPPs an efficient, effective and non-toxic mechanism for drug delivery. In this review, we discuss a number of CPP conjugated therapies (CTTs) that are either patented are in the progress of patenting, and show strong promise for clinical efficacy. The CTTs discussed here target a number of different processes specific to cancer progression, including proliferation, survival and migration. In addition, many of these CTTs also increase sensitivity to current anti-cancer therapy modalities, including radiation and other DNA damaging chemotherapies, thereby decreasing the toxic dosage required for effective treatment. Mechanistically, these CTTs function in a dominant-negative manner by blocking tumor-specific protein-protein interactions with the CPP-conjugated peptide or protein. The treatment of both cell lines and mouse models demonstrates that this method of molecular targeting results in equal if not greater efficacy than current standards of care, including DNA damaging agents and topoisomerase inhibitors. For the treatment of invasive carcinoma, these CTTs have significant clinical potential to deliver highly targeted therapies without sacrificing the patient's quality of life.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Cells / metabolism*
  • Cells / pathology
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Peptide Fragments / administration & dosage*
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry
  • Peptide Fragments / immunology
  • Peptide Fragments / pharmacokinetics*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Peptide Fragments