Diphtheria toxin-epidermal growth factor fusion protein DAB 389EGF for the treatment of bladder cancer

Xiaoping Yang, Elizabeth Kessler, Lih Jen Su, Andrew Thorburn, Arthur E. Frankel, Yuan Li, Francisco G. La Rosa, Jingping Shen, Chuan Yuan Li, Marileila Varella-Garcia, L. Michael Glodé, Thomas W. Flaig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Purpose: The novel fusion protein, DAB389EGF, is composed of both the catalytic and the translocation domains of diphtheria toxin that are fused to the human EGF, providing a targeting and a toxicity component. We tested DAB389EGF for antitumor activity in both in vitro and in vivo urinary bladder cancer models. Experimental Design: Human bladder cancer lines were treated with DAB389EGF and assessed for growth inhibition and clonogenic suppression. Using 6- to 8-week-old female athymic nude mice implanted orthotopically with HTB9 cells, DAB389EGF was administered intravesically twice weekly for 2 weeks. The response of the luciferase-expressing HTB9 cells was monitored via bioluminescence as the primary endpoint. Results: Treatment response with DAB389EGF was specific and robust, with an IC50 ranging from 0.5 to 15 ng/mL in eight tested bladder cancer cell lines, but greater than 50 ng/mL in the EGF receptor (EGFR)-negative H520 control cell line. Simulating short-duration intravesical therapy used clinically, a 2-hour treatment exposure of DAB 389EGF (10 ng/mL) produced clonogenic suppression in three selected bladder cancer cell lines. In vivo, luciferase activity was suppressed in five of six mice treated with DAB389EGF [70 μL (1 ng/μL) per mouse], as compared with only one of six mice treated with a control diphtheria toxin (DT) fusion protein. Histologic assessment of tumor clearance correlated with the bioluminescent changes observed with DAB389EGF treatment. Immunocompetent mice treated with intravesical DAB389EGF did not show any nonspecific systemic toxicity. Conclusions: The intravesical delivery of targeted toxin fusion proteins is a novel treatment approach for non-muscle-invasive urinary bladder cancer. With appropriate targeting, the treatments are effective and well-tolerated in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-157
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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