Development of a synthetic cyclized peptide derived from α-fetoprotein that prevents the growth of human breast cancer

F. B. Mesfin, S. Zhu, J. A. Bennett, T. T. Andersen, H. I. Jacobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The peptide, EMTPVNPG, derived from alpha-fetoprotein, inhibits estrogen-stimulated growth of immature mouse uterus and estrogen-dependent proliferation of human breast cancer cells. However, the biological activities of the peptide diminish over time in storage, even when in the lyophilized state, probably because of peptide aggregation through hydrophobic interaction among monomers. Two analogs of EMTPVNPG were designed with the intent of minimizing aggregation and retaining biological activity during prolonged storage. EMTOVNOG, where O is 4-hydroxyproline, is a linear peptide generated by substituting 4-hydroxyproline for the two prolines, thereby increasing peptide hydrophilicity. This analog exhibited a dose-dependent inhibition of estrogen-stimulated growth of immature mouse uterus similar to that of EMTPVNPG (maximal activity at 1 μg/mouse). A second analog, cyclo-(EMTOVNOGQ), a hydrophilic, cyclic analog with increased conformational constraint, was as potent as the other peptides in its inhibition of estrogen-dependent growth of immature mouse uterus, and had an expanded effective dose range. Both linear and cyclized hydroxyproline-substituted analogs exhibited indefinite shelf-life. Furthermore, both analogs inhibited the estrogen-dependent growth of MCF-7 human breast cancer growing as a xenograft in SCID mice. These analogs may become significant, novel agents for the treatment of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-256
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Peptide Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Alpha-fetoprotein
  • Anti-estrogens
  • Antibreast cancer peptides
  • Cyclic peptide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology


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