• diphtheria toxin DT390;
  • immunotoxin;
  • prostate-specific membrane antigen;
  • targeted drug delivery;
  • tumor imaging


Prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is overexpressed on prostate tumor cells and the neovascular endothelia various solid tumors. A bivalent immunotoxin generated by fusing a fold-back single-chain diabody derived from the Fv fragments of an anti-PSMA monoclonal antibody with a truncated diphtheria toxin (DT) containing the activity and translocation domains [A-dmDT390-scfbDb(PSMA)] might be suitable for targeted therapy of tumors that overexpress PSMA. In this study, a PSMA-positive and a PSMA-negative prostate cancer cell lines were treated with immunotoxin A-dmDT390-scfbDb(PSMA) in order to study the tumor targeting specificity and therapeutic potential of the immunotoxin. The cellular uptake and selective toxicity of the immunotoxin were evident in monolayer cultures of PSMA-positive LNCaP prostate cancer cells but not in cultures of PSMA-negative PC-3 prostate cancer cells. Cellular accumulation of A-dmDT390-scfbDb(PSMA) increased with increasing incubation times and concentrations in LNCaP cells. The proportion of apoptotic LNCaP cells increased upon incubation with increasing doses of the fold-back immunotoxin. Optical imaging and MRI with the Alexa Fluor 680-labeled A-dmDT390-scfbDb(PSMA) confirmed the specific targeting and therapeutic efficacy of this immunotoxin towards PSMA-positive LNCaP solid tumor xenografts in athymic nude mice.