Targeting the plasma membrane of neoplastic cells through alkylation: A novel approach to cancer chemotherapy

Matthew Trendowski, Thomas P. Fondy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Summary: Background Although DNA-directed alkylating agents and related compounds have been a mainstay in chemotherapeutic protocols due to their ability to readily interfere with the rapid mitotic progression of malignant cells, their clinical utility is limited by DNA repair mechanisms and immunosuppression. However, the same destructive nature of alkylation can be reciprocated at the cell surface using novel plasma membrane alkylating agents. Results Plasma membrane alkylating agents have elicited long term survival in mammalian models challenged with carcinomas, sarcomas, and leukemias. Further, a specialized group of plasma membrane alkylating agents known as tetra-O-acetate haloacetamido carbohydrate analogs (Tet-OAHCs) potentiates a substantial leukocyte influx at the administration and primary tumor site, indicative of a potent immune response. The effects of plasma membrane alkylating agents may be further potentiated through the use of another novel class of chemotherapeutic agents, known as dihydroxyacetone phosphate (DHAP) inhibitors, since many cancer types are known to rely on the DHAP pathway for lipid synthesis. Conclusion Despite these compelling data, preliminary clinical trials for plasma membrane-directed agents have yet to be considered. Therefore, this review is intended for academics and clinicians to postulate a novel approach of chemotherapy; altering critical malignant cell signaling at the plasma membrane surface through alkylation, thereby inducing irreversible changes to functions needed for cell survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)992-1001
Number of pages10
JournalInvestigational New Drugs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Alkylating agents
  • Carbohydrate analogs
  • Dihydroxyacetone phosphate inhibitors
  • Leukocyte influx
  • Plasma membrane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Targeting the plasma membrane of neoplastic cells through alkylation: A novel approach to cancer chemotherapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this