p21(WAF1)-derived peptides linked to an internalization peptide inhibit human cancer cell growth

Marina Bonfanti, Stefano Taverna, Mario Salmona, Maurizio D'Incalci, Massimo Broggini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We tested the ability of synthetic peptides derived from p21(WAF1), fused to the internalization peptide sequence derived from Antennapedia, to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in two human ovarian cancer cell lines expressing wild-type p53 or not. Two fused peptides corresponding to p21(WAF1) regions 17-33 and 63-77 inhibited cell growth in both cell lines while the same peptides without the internalization sequence were inactive. The fused peptides prevented growth at concentrations which inhibited cyclin- dependent kinase 2 and cdc2 activity, thus demonstrating that the peptides act by mimicking the action of p21(WAF1) on kinases. This study illustrates the potential pharmacological use of small peptides fused with the Antennapedia internalization sequence in proliferative disorders. The approach may be extended to other diseases in which cell penetration of a peptide may be of therapeutic benefit. More stable drug-like molecules with better pharmacological properties could be designed based on the results obtained with peptides.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1442-1446
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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