Maytansine CAS: 57103-68-1

CAS NO: 57103-68-1
Chemical Name: Maytansinol
Molecular Formula: C28H37ClN2O8
Formula Weight: 565.05
CAS No.: 57103-68-1
Description Review

Maytansine (1, Figure 5.1) is a naturally occurring benzoansamacrolide alkaloid, first isolated in 1972 by Kupcan et al. from the bark of the Ethiopian shrub Maytenus ovatus. Maytansinol (2, Figure 5.1) shares the same macrolide structure as maytansine. The difference lies in the substituent at the C3 position; maytansinol has a hydroxyl group (C3-hydroxyl), whereas maytansine has an acetyl-N-methyl-alanine group (C3-acetyl-N-methyl-alanine). Derivatives of maytansine are modifications of the maytansinol C3 side chain, primarily through esterification. Binding at the same site as vinca alkaloids, maytansine derivatives bind to tubulin and effectively attach to the microtubule ends. These compounds inhibit microtubule dynamics, arresting cells in the G2/M phase and leading to cell death. In some clinical trials, maytansine was used as a single agent, but it did not show therapeutic benefits at tolerable doses.

Based on the mechanism of action of ADCs, their effective payloads are usually highly cytotoxic small molecules. In vitro, maytansine derivatives exhibit 1000 times higher antitumor activity than traditional chemotherapy drugs (such as doxorubicin), with half-maximal inhibitory concentrations (IC50) reaching sub-nanomolar levels. Maytansine derivatives have a stronger cytotoxic effect on rapidly dividing cells compared to resting cells. These compounds exhibit good stability and solubility in water, which prevents decomposition or aggregation when conjugated to antibodies. However, maytansine lacks suitable functional groups for derivatization to enable antibody conjugation.\

The development of maytansine derivatives for use in ADCs involves the introduction of functional groups that allow for stable conjugation to antibodies without compromising the cytotoxic activity of the maytansine moiety. The most common approach is the attachment of a linker to a sulfhydryl group on cysteines within the antibody, typically achieved through thiol-maleimide chemistry. This approach has been used to create several maytansine-based ADCs, including trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1), currently approved for the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer. T-DM1 consists of trastuzumab, a monoclonal antibody targeting the HER2 receptor, conjugated to DM1, a maytansine derivative, through a stable thioether linker. The ADC targets HER2-expressing cancer cells, where it is internalized and the linker is cleaved in the lysosome, releasing DM1 to exert its cytotoxic effect.

Another significant advancement in the field of maytansine derivatives is the development of non-cleavable linkers that release the active drug in a different manner. These linkers are designed to be stable within the cell, releasing the cytotoxic payload only after antibody degradation in the lysosome. This approach has led to the creation of more stable ADCs with improved therapeutic indexes.

ADCs' mechanism of action involves specific binding to antigen-expressing cancer cells, internalization, and intracellular drug release. The ideal ADC exhibits high specificity for cancer cells, minimizing off-target effects and toxicity to healthy tissues. The therapeutic efficacy of an ADC is influenced by factors like the antigen's expression level on cancer cells, the internalization rate of the ADC-antigen complex, and the stability of the linker-drug conjugate. ADCs represent a rapidly evolving area in cancer therapy, with ongoing research focused on optimizing linker chemistry, enhancing payload potency, and expanding the range of targetable antigens.

The efficacy of ADCs also depends significantly on the characteristics of the payload. The ideal payload should be highly potent, have a mechanism of action that leads to apoptosis, and be able to exert its effect even in non-dividing cells. Maytansine derivatives fulfill these criteria effectively. They are among the most potent tubulin inhibitors known, capable of inducing cell death at extremely low concentrations. This potency is essential in the context of ADCs, as only a limited amount of drug is delivered to the cancer cells.

Another crucial aspect of ADC development is the selection of appropriate linkers. Linkers must be stable in the bloodstream to prevent premature drug release, which could lead to systemic toxicity. However, once the ADC reaches the target cancer cell, the linker should be cleavable to release the drug payload. This balance is critical to the safety and efficacy of the ADC. Researchers have developed various types of linkers, including those that are cleaved by enzymes, pH-sensitive linkers, and non-cleavable linkers that rely on the degradation of the antibody for drug release.

The article also discusses the challenges and future directions in the development of maytansine-based ADCs. One of the major challenges is the heterogeneity in the expression of the target antigen on cancer cells, which can lead to varying responses to treatment. Furthermore, the development of resistance to ADCs is a significant concern. The article suggests that future research could focus on identifying new target antigens, developing more stable and specific linkers, and exploring combination therapies to overcome resistance.

In the final section, the article delves into the clinical applications and future prospects of maytansine derivatives in ADC therapy. It highlights that despite the challenges, ADCs represent a promising strategy in targeted cancer therapy. The success of trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) in treating HER2-positive breast cancer has paved the way for further exploration and development of maytansine-based ADCs. Clinical trials are ongoing for several other ADCs that utilize maytansine derivatives, targeting a variety of cancer types.

The article also touches upon the importance of personalized medicine in the context of ADC therapy. The heterogeneity of tumors and the variation in antigen expression among patients necessitate a more personalized approach to treatment. Biomarker-driven strategies could potentially identify patients who are most likely to benefit from specific ADC therapies, thereby improving outcomes and reducing unnecessary exposure to cytotoxic agents.

Finally, the article concludes with an optimistic outlook on the future of ADCs. It emphasizes the need for continued research and innovation in the field, including the exploration of novel targets, the development of more efficient and safer linkers, and the combination of ADCs with other therapeutic modalities. Such advancements could significantly enhance the efficacy and safety of ADC-based treatments, offering new hope to patients with various forms of cancer.

Maytansine is a type of chemotherapy medication used in the treatment of various types of cancer, including breast cancer and lung cancer. It belongs to the class of drugs called microtubule inhibitors, which prevent cancer cells from dividing and growing. Maytansine CAS: 57103-68-1 is the chemical compound that has been extensively studied for its effectiveness in treating cancer.

Chemical Name:

The chemical name for Maytansine is (3S,4R,5S,6R)-3-hydroxy-4,5-dimethoxy-6-methyl(7E,9E)-nona-7,9-dien-1-yl benzoate.

Molecular Formula:

The molecular formula of Maytansine is C34H47NO10.

Formula Weight:

The formula weight of Maytansine is 629.75 g/mol.


The CAS number for Maytansine is 57103-68-1.

Top Ten Keywords and Synonyms:

  1. Chemotherapy
  2. Microtubule inhibitor
  3. Breast cancer
  4. Lung cancer
  5. Antineoplastic agent
  6. Tumor growth
  7. DM1
  8. Antibody-drug conjugates
  9. Mitosis
  10. Vinca alkaloid

Other synonyms for Maytansine include Ansamitocin P-3, Emi 205, and NSC-153858.

Health Benefits:

Maytansine has been shown to be effective in the treatment of various types of cancer, particularly breast cancer and lung cancer. It works by disrupting the microtubules in cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and growing. Maytansine is often used in combination with other medications or as part of an antibody-drug conjugate to increase its effectiveness.

Potential Effects:

The potential effects of Maytansine include decreased tumor growth and replication. It works by binding to the microtubules in cancer cells and preventing them from functioning properly. This ultimately leads to the death of the cancer cells.

Product Mechanism:

Maytansine works by binding to the microtubules in cancer cells and preventing them from forming properly. Microtubules are essential for cell division, and when they are disrupted, cells cannot divide and grow. This leads to the death of cancer cells.


Maytansine should only be used under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider. It can cause serious side effects, including decreased production of blood cells, liver damage, and nerve damage. Patients who are allergic to Maytansine or any of its ingredients should not use this medication. It is important to tell your healthcare provider about all medications you are taking before starting treatment with Maytansine.

Side Effects:

Common side effects of Maytansine include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, muscle pain, and weakness. Less common side effects may include decreased production of blood cells, liver damage, and nerve damage.

Dosing Information:

The dose of Maytansine will depend on the patient's age, weight, and overall health. The medication is usually given as an injection into the vein. Treatment may continue for several weeks or months.


Maytansine is an effective chemotherapy medication used in the treatment of various types of cancer, particularly breast cancer and lung cancer. It works by disrupting the microtubules in cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and growing. While it can be effective in treating cancer, it can also cause serious side effects and should only be used under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider.


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