Anti-glioblastoma effect of a recombinant bispecific cytotoxin cotargeting human IL-13 and EGF receptors in a mouse xenograft model

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To improve activity of a recombinant IL-13 cytotoxin (CT) comprised of IL-13 spliced to truncated diphtheria toxin (DT390), epidermal growth factor (EGF) was added to the same single chain protein. This new recombinant bispecific CT, called DTEGF13, enhanced the killing potency against the human glioblastoma lines, U87MG (0.015 nM) and U118MG (0.02 nM). A similar enhancement was observed against the lung carcinoma cell line, Calu-3 (0.0018 nM). Enhanced activity could not be explained by an increased number of cytokines available for binding since a combination of monospecific DTEGF and DTIL13 did not cause the same enhanced activity. Enhanced activity was dependent on the presence of both cytokines on the same single chain molecule and killing was receptor specific since target receptor negative leukemia cells were unaffected by the highly selective DTEGF13 and cytotoxicity could be blocked with anti-EGFR and anti-IL-13 antibodies. In a xenograft flank tumor model, intratumoral injection of DTEGF13, but not monospecific DTEGF or DTIL13, significantly inhibited the growth of established U87 tumors in nude mice (P < 0.04). In this model, the human EGF and IL-13 components of DTEGF13 are reactive with mouse EGFR and IL-13R, respectively. These studies show that a new co-targeting agent that simultaneously recognizes EGFR and IL-13R is more effective than its monospecific counterparts and that DTEGF13 has therapeutic advantages for glioblastoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-61
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of neuro-oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This work was supported in part by the US Public Health Service Grants RO1-CA36725 and RO1-CA082154 awarded by the NCI and the NIAID, DHHS and the Martha L. Kramer Fund.


  • Carcinoma
  • Cytotoxin
  • Diphtheria toxin
  • EGF
  • Fusion protein
  • Glioblastoma
  • IL-13
  • Immunotoxin
  • Xenograft model


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