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Targeted Toxins in Brain Tumor Therapy

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Author(s): Yan Michael Li | Walter A. Hall

Journal: Toxins
ISSN 2072-6651

Volume: 2;
Issue: 11;
Start page: 2645;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: targeted toxin | immunotoxin | cytotoxin | diphtheria toxin | pseudomonas exotoxin

ABSTRACT
Targeted toxins, also known as immunotoxins or cytotoxins, are recombinant molecules that specifically bind to cell surface receptors that are overexpressed in cancer and the toxin component kills the cell. These recombinant proteins consist of a specific antibody or ligand coupled to a protein toxin. The targeted toxins bind to a surface antigen or receptor overexpressed in tumors, such as the epidermal growth factor receptor or interleukin-13 receptor. The toxin part of the molecule in all clinically used toxins is modified from bacterial or plant toxins, fused to an antibody or carrier ligand. Targeted toxins are very effective against cancer cells resistant to radiation and chemotherapy. They are far more potent than any known chemotherapy drug. Targeted toxins have shown an acceptable profile of toxicity and safety in early clinical studies and have demonstrated evidence of a tumor response. Currently, clinical trials with some targeted toxins are complete and the final results are pending. This review summarizes the characteristics of targeted toxins and the key findings of the important clinical studies with targeted toxins in malignant brain tumor patients. Obstacles to successful treatment of malignant brain tumors include poor penetration into tumor masses, the immune response to the toxin component and cancer heterogeneity. Strategies to overcome these limitations are being pursued in the current generation of targeted toxins.