Successful Treatment of Human Acute T-Cell Leukemia in SCID Mice Using the Anti-CD7-deglycosylated Ricin A-Chain Immunotoxin DA7

Daniel A. Vallera, John H. Kersey, Dat Nguyen, John H. Kersey

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55 Scopus citations


The study of new therapeutic approaches for refractory human leukemia has been hampered by the lack of relevant in vivo models with disseminated disease, particularly T acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). In the present study we evaluated methods for establishing and therapy of a human T-ALL cell line (MT-ALL) in 73 SCID mice. MT-ALL is a T-cell receptor <x/£+, CD3+, and CD7+ leukemia cell line, derived from a patient with refractory disease and early death. Injection of 5 x 107 MT-ALL cells i.v. caused disseminated human leukemia in hematopoietic and nonhematopoietic organs in 100% of SCID mice (n = 9) leading to death or terminal disease at 65 to 70 days after a uniform clinical course. To study possible therapeutic approaches for disseminated leukemia we utilized an immunotoxin, DA7, constructed by chemically linking the mouse IgG2b anti-CD7(3AlE) monoclonal antibody which recognizes a pan-T-cell marker expressed on almost all T-cell leukemias to deglycosylated ricin A-chain, a catalytic plant toxin and inhibitor of protein synthesis. Administration of DA7 led to >5 log kill of clonogenic MT-ALL cells in vitro and selectively inhibited protein synthesis. DA7 was administered to mice at a dose of 10 µg/mouse/day for 5 consecutive days starting 8 days after i.v. inoculation of leukemia. The immunotoxin therapy resulted in significant long term survival over 348 days compared to untreated or control mice treated with anti-CD7 antibody and deglycosylated ricin A-chain which were all dead by day 70 (P < 0.001). Even after more than 11 months there was no evidence of disease in 82% of the DA7 treated animals. SCID mice given i.p. injections (n = 9) developed an i.p. tumor mass but demonstrated metas-tasis outside the peritoneum with disseminated leukemia in hematopoietic and nonhematopoietic organs, a finding different from most conventional nude mouse models. The leukemia was fatal in 100% and killed the animals at 68-95 days. SCID mice given i.p. injections of MT-ALL completely responded to therapy with DA7, resulting in survival of 100% of the animals (n = 10) at 216 days (P < 0.001 compared to untreated animals). Anti-CD7 antibody, deglycosylated ricin A-chain, and a control anti-melanoma immunotoxin (IND1-RTA) showed no therapeutic effect. We conclude that DA7 is an effective in vivo therapeutic agent against human MT-ALL in the SOD mouse system, suggesting potential usefulness for therapy of humans with poor prognosis T-cell leukemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1314-1321
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1992


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