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Current Protein & Peptide Science


ISSN (Print): 1389-2037
ISSN (Online): 1875-5550

Review Article (Mini-Review)

Microbial Enzymes used in Prodrug Activation for Cancer Therapy: Insights and Future Perspectives

Author(s): Rakhi Dhankhar, Anubhuti Kawatra, Aparajita Mohanty and Pooja Gulati*

Volume 22 , Issue 7 , 2021

Published on: 07 December, 2020

Page: [514 - 525] Pages: 12

DOI: 10.2174/1389203721666201207231932

Price: $65


Enzyme prodrug therapy has gained momentum in recent years due to its ability to improve therapeutic index (benefits versus toxic side-effects) and efficacy of chemotherapy in cancer treatment. Inactive prodrugs used in this system are converted into active anti-cancerous drugs by enzymes, specifically within the tumor cells. This therapy involves three components namely prodrug, enzyme and gene delivery vector. Past reports have clearly indicated that the choice of enzyme used is the major determinant for the success of this therapy. Generally, enzymes from nonhuman sources are employed to avoid off-target toxicity. Exogenous enzymes also give better control to the clinician regarding the calibration of treatment by site-specific initiation. Amongst these exo-enzymes, microbial enzymes are preferred due to their high productivity, stability and ease of manipulation. The present review focuses on the commonly used microbial enzymes, particularly cytosine deaminase, nitroreductase, carboxypeptidase, purine nucleoside phosphorylase in prodrug activation therapy. Various aspects viz. source of the enzymes, types of cancer targeted, mode of action and efficacy of the enzyme/prodrug system, efficient vectors used and recent research developments of each of these enzymes are comprehensively elaborated. Further, the results of the clinical trials and various strategies to improve their clinical applicability are also discussed.

Keywords: ADEPT, GDEPT, carboxypeptidase, cytosine deaminase, EPT (enzyme prodrug therapy), nitroreductase, purine nucleoside phosphorylase.

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