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Int J Cancer. 1995 Jan 3;60(1):137-44.

EGF receptor and p185erbB-2-specific single-chain antibody toxins differ in their cell-killing activity on tumor cells expressing both receptor proteins.

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Friedrich Miescher Institute, Basel, Switzerland.


Many human tumors over-express erbB-2 and EGF receptors. The membrane localization of these receptor tyrosine kinases make them appropriate targets for directed tumor therapy. We have used recombinant DNA technology to produce single-chain antibody exotoxin A (scFv-ETA) fusion proteins which specifically bind the erbB-2 and EGF receptors. The scFv portion is composed of the heavy- and light-chain variable domains of monoclonal antibodies which recognize the extracellular portion of each receptor. We have previously described the anti-tumor activity of the bacterially produced scFv(FRP5)-ETA directed to the erbB-2 receptor. In this paper we describe the characteristics of scFv(225)-ETA, a protein which binds the EGF receptor. The bacterially produced recombinant protein binds to the receptor with high affinity and inhibits the in vitro growth of the EGF receptor over-expressing tumor cell lines A431 and MDA-MB468. Combination treatment with scFv-(FRP5)-ETA and scFv(225)-ETA led to an additive inhibitory effect on the in vitro growth of A431 cells. SKBR3 cells expressing low levels of EGF receptor but high levels of p185erbB-2 were not affected by scFv(225)-ETA treatment but were sensitive to scFv(FRP5)-ETA. Stimulation of SKBR3 cells and HCII RI#11 mouse mammary epithelial cells expressing the human erbB-2 with EGF led to an increase in scFv(FRP5)-ETA activity, showing that the EGF-induced activation of erbB-2 can potentiate the action of the erbB-2-directed toxin. Treatment of athymic nude mice with scFv(FRP5)-ETA and the combination of both scFv-ETA proteins led to the transient arrest of growth of established A431 tumors. scFv(225)-ETA treatment alone was the most effective, leading to tumor shrinkage during the course of treatment, whereas treatment with the parental monoclonal antibody 225 led to retarded tumor growth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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