Diphtheria fusion protein therapy of chemoresistant malignancies

Arthur E. Frankel, Patrick Rossi, Timothy M. Kuzel, Francine Foss

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Patients with widespread cancer respond initially to combination chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and/or radiotherapy, but most relapse with chemoresistant disease. Novel methods of killing resistant neoplastic stem cells are needed. One such approach is therapy with targeted toxins composed of tumor cell selective ligands covalently linked to group I peptide toxins (group II and III peptide toxins act on the cell surface). The targeted toxin is delivered to the cell by a tumor selective ligand. Once bound, the ligand-receptor complex is internalized. The catalytic domain escapes to the cytosol. The toxin then enzymatically modifies a critical cell function (protein synthesis, p21 Rho activity, protein kinase signaling, cyclic AMP signaling or others). The irreversibly damaged cells fails to divide and, eventually, undergoes lysis or programmed cell death. Targeted peptide toxins used to date in the treatment of chemotherapy refractory cancers include ricin toxin, Pseudomonas exotoxin, pokeweed antiviral protein, saporin, gelonin and diphtheria toxin. In this review, we have focused on the applications of genetically engineered diphtheria toxin for cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-36
Number of pages18
JournalCurrent Cancer Drug Targets
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Diphtheria fusion protein therapy of chemoresistant malignancies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this