Transforming Growth Factor-a Pseudomonas Exotoxin Fusion Protein (TGF-a-PE38) Treatment of Subcutaneous and Intracranial Human Glioma and Medulloblastoma Xenografts in Athymic Mice

Peter C. Phillips, Cindee Levow, Mark Catterall, O. Michael Colvin, Henry Brem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is amplified or overex-pressed in many malignant gliomas and other primary brain tumors but is low or undetectable in normal brain. In the present study, this differential expression has been exploited for targeted brain tumor therapy using a TGF-a-Pseudomonas exotoxin recombinant toxin, TGF-a-PE38. In vitro experiments demonstrate that the cytotoxicity of this fusion protein is primarily determined by tumor EGFR expression and that TGF-a-PE38 cytotoxicity is abolished by pretreatment with excess epidermal growth factor. Treatment with i.p. TGF-o-PE38 in nude mice bearing glioblastoma or medulloblastoma s.c. xenografts produced tumor regression and growth delay. For intracranial xenograft implants treated with i.p. TGF-a-PE38, significant increases in median survival were noted only for tumors with the highest EGFR expression. However, intracranial tumors treated with a single intratumoral injection of TGF-a-PE38 showed increased survival in all xenografts tested. These results indicate that TGF-a-PE38 is active against primary human brain tumors ranging from moderate to high EGFR expression. For intracranial tumors, however, the higher survival rates produced by intracranial injection of TGF-a-PE38 than by continuous i.p. administration suggest that increased drug clearance or impaired drug delivery reduces the efficacy of systemic TGF-a-PE38. Direct delivery of TGF-a-PE38 into brain tumors by controlled-release biodegradable polymers or intratumoral implanted catheters, or intrathecal administration into the colony stimulating factor of patients with leptomeningeal metastasis, may represent clinically useful applications of recombinant toxin therapy in tumors with high EGFR expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1008-1015
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this