Monovalent immunotoxin containing truncated form of Pseudomonas exotoxin as potent antitumor agent
Recombinant truncated forms of Pseudomonas exotoxin A that lack the cell binding domain of Pseudomonas exotoxin A were coupled to an F(ab') fragment of a monoclonal antibody HB21 directed against the human transferrin receptor. One of these was NlysPE40. The other, NlysPE38QQR, has two amino groups on residues near the NH2-terminus and has no amino groups near the COOH-terminus. The proteins were linked by a stable thioether bond that connected the sulfhydryl group present in the hinge region
... the hinge region of the antibody fragment to an amino group on the toxin. The F(ab')-PE40 immunotoxin, containing NlysPE40, exhibited potent cytotoxic activity on human carcinoma cell lines with a concentration of immunotoxin at which isotope incorporation falls by 50% when compared to nontreated cells (ID50) of 5.3 pM (0.5 ng/ml) on both the epidermoid carcinoma A431 and on the colon carcinoma Colo205. Immunotoxins made with whole antibody were considerably less active, with an ID50 of 15.9 pM (3.1 ng/ml) on these cell lines. F(ab')-PE38QQR, the immunotoxin containing NlysPE38QQR, was found to be the most active agent with an ID50 of 1.05 pM (0.1 ng/ml) on A431 cells. The greater cytotoxicity of immunotoxins containing fragmented antibody was probably due to the higher binding affinity of F(ab') conjugates in comparison to whole antibody conjugates to the transferrin receptor. The increase in cytotoxic activity of the immunotoxin made with NlysPE38QQR than that with NlysPE40 may reflect selective coupling of the toxin through NH2-terminal amino groups. The monovalent and divalent immunotoxins had dose-dependent antitumor effects on human epidermoid carcinoma xenografts in nude mice. A431 tumors completely regressed in all animals at a total dose of 105 pmol (10 micrograms) of F(ab')-PE38QQR and of 154 pmol (30 micrograms) of IgG-PE38QQR. Furthermore, the F(ab') immunotoxin was less toxic to mice than the conjugate containing IgG (840 pmol or 80 micrograms of total dose causing measurable adverse effects versus 208 pmol or 40 micrograms, respectively). Thus, a truncated Pseudomonas exotoxin A molecule coupled to the F(ab') fragment of an antibody is more active and less toxic in mice than an immunotoxin made with a whole antibody. Therefore, the therapeutic index for the monovalent immunotoxin is about four times better than that for the divalent immunotoxin.