Diphtheria toxin-based targeted toxin therapy for brain tumors

Yan Michael Li, Daniel A. Vallera, Walter A. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Targeted toxins (TT) are molecules that bind cell surface antigens or receptors such as the transferrin or interleukin-13 receptor that are overexpressed in cancer. After internalization, the toxin component kills the cell. These recombinant proteins consist of an antibody or carrier ligand coupled to a modified plant or bacterial toxin such as diphtheria toxin (DT). These fusion proteins are very effective against brain cancer cells that are resistant to radiation therapy and chemotherapy. TT have shown an acceptable profile for toxicity and safety in animal studies and early clinical trials have demonstrated a therapeutic response. This review summarizes the characteristics of DT-based TT, the animal studies in malignant brain tumors and early clinical trial results. Obstacles to the successful treatment of brain tumors include poor penetration into tumor, the immune response to DT and cancer heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-164
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of neuro-oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Diphtheria toxin
  • Malignant gliomas
  • Targeted toxin


Dive into the research topics of 'Diphtheria toxin-based targeted toxin therapy for brain tumors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this