Antibody-based immunotoxins for the treatment of cancer

Nurit Becker, Itai Benhar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Antibody-based immunotoxins comprise an important group in targeted cancer therapeutics. These chimeric proteins are a form of biological guided missiles that combine a targeting moiety with a potent effector molecule. The targeting moiety is mostly a monoclonal antibody (MAb) or a recombinant antibody-based fragment that confers target specificity to the immunotoxin. The effector domain is a potent protein toxin of bacterial or plant origin, which, following binding to the target cells, undergoes internalization and causes cell death. Over time and following research progression, immunotoxins become better fitted to their purpose, losing immunogenic fragments and non-specific targeting moieties. Many immunotoxins have gone through clinical evaluation. Some of these have been shown to be active and work is progressing with them in the form of further clinical trials. Others, mostly developed in the previous century, failed to generate a response in patients, or even caused undesired side effects. This article reviews the antibody and protein-toxin based immunotoxins that were clinically evaluated up to the present day.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-69
Number of pages31
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Cancer therapy
  • Clinical trials
  • Immunotoxin
  • Monoclonal antibody
  • Pseudomonas exotoxin A
  • Ricin toxin


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