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Mol Biother. 1992 Sep;4(3):122-9.

A gelonin-containing immunotoxin directed against human breast carcinoma.

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Department of Clinical Immunology and Biological Therapy, University of Texas-M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030.


Toxins may be specifically directed to tumor cells and the toxins' potency greatly increased by covalent conjugation to monoclonal antibodies recognizing tumor-associated antigens. Antibody 15A8, an immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) subclass anti-human breast carcinoma murine monoclonal antibody and gelonin, a plant toxin, were covalently modified with N-succimindyl 3-(2-pyridyldithio) proprionate and iminothiolane, respectively, and allowed to cross-link. 15A8-gelonin conjugates were purified from unreacted antibody and free gelonin by gel filtration and blue sepharose chromatography. Analysis by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis showed that the final product contained two bands corresponding to antibody:gelonin conjugates of 1:1 (predominant) and 1:2. There were no contaminating amounts of free antibody or free toxin in the preparation. The yield of the final purified 15A8-gelonin conjugate was approximately 20% based on the amount of starting antibody. The protein synthesis inhibitory activity of the immunoconjugate was assessed by in vitro rabbit reticulocyte translation assay. This functional activity was normalized to that of unmodified gelonin for use in in vitro antiproliferative assays against antigen-negative (Hs294t human melanoma) and antigen-positive (ME-180 human cervical carcinoma) cell lines. Antigen-negative Hs294t cells incubated for 72 hours with 15A8-gelonin immunotoxin showed no increased cytotoxicity compared with HS294t cells exposed to free gelonin alone. However, the immunotoxin was preferentially toxic to antigen-positive ME-180 cells; over 5 logs greater cell kill was observed after 72 hours exposure to 15A8-gelonin than after the same exposure to gelonin alone. Various lysosomotropic agents augmented 15A8-gelonin cytotoxicity; the most effective potentiating agent appeared to be monensin. In addition, the chemotherapeutic agents L-phenylalanine mustard (L-PAM), 5-fluorouracil, vincristine, and bleomycin, and the biological response modifiers interferon-alpha and tumor necrosis factor-alpha were shown to augment 15A8-gelonin cytotoxicity. Should in vivo pharmacology and therapeutic studies confirm these in vitro findings, 15A8-gelonin conjugate may be a potent agent for therapy of cancer in man.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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