Anti-tumor effects and lack of side effects in mice of an immunotoxin directed against human and mouse prostate-specific membrane antigen

Xianming Huang, Mary Bennett, Philip E. Thorpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is a transmembrane protein that is largely restricted to prostatic epithelial cells in humans and is strongly upregulated on prostatic carcinoma cells. It is also expressed on the endothelium of tumor vasculature in humans, but not on the vasculature of normal tissues. Expression of low levels of PSMA has also been found on non-vascular cells in several normal tissues, most prominently on the brain and kidney in humans. PSMA is an excellent candidate for targeting prostate cancer or targeting tumor vasculature of various solid tumors. The high potential clinical benefit of these agents has prompted the search for an animal model in which to assess the efficacy and safety of anti-PSMA monoclonal antibody (mAb)-based therapies. METHODS. A rat monoclonal antibody, E6 that recognizes both mouse and human PSMA was generated using conventional hybridoma techniques. The antibody was characterized by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), Western blot, and immunohistochemistry. An immunotoxin composed of E6, antibody and deglycosylated ricin A-chain (dgA) was prepared chemically. The anti-tumor effects of the immunotoxin were determined in vitro and in mice bearing subcutaneous LnCaP human prostate tumors, which express PSMA on the tumor cell surface. RESULTS. E6 recognizes the extracellular domain of both human and mouse PSMA in ELISA, immunoblot and by immunohistochemistry. E6 strongly stained the vascular endothelium of tumors from humans but not from mice. E6 stained proximal tubules in mouse and human kidneys, and neurons in the mouse and human hippocampus but, unlike the human, did not detectably stain epithelial cells in mouse prostate or small intestine. An E6-dgA immunoconjugate strongly inhibited the growth of LnCaP tumor xenografts without causing apparent toxicity to the mice. Histological observation indicated that the anti-tumor effects were mediated through direct cytotoxic effects on the tumor cells. CONCLUSIONS. We have generated and characterized a rat mAb (E6) that reacts specifically with both human and mouse PSMA and have demonstrated that an immunotoxin constructed from E6 is safe and effective against human prostatic carcinoma cells growing subcutaneously in nude mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 15 2004


  • Immunotoxin
  • Monoclonal antibody
  • Prostate cancer
  • Prostate-specific membrane antigen
  • Vascular endothelium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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