In vitro and in vivo efficacy of heat shock protein specific immunotoxins on human tumor cells

P. Piselli, S. Vendetti, F. Poccia, R. Cicconi, M. Mattei, A. Bolognesi, F. Stirpe, V. Colizzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The presence of heat shock proteins (HSPs) on the surface of tumor cells suggested the possibility of using stress proteins as immunological target for specific immunotoxins (ITs). Flow cytometry analysis showed that U937 cells constitutively express both 28 and 60 kDa HSP in vitro, while the HPC-4 cells only express surface HSPs when grown in vivo, i.e. explanted from SCID mice. Incubation of U937 cells with monoclonal antibodies against 28 or 60 kDa HSP, and then with an immunotoxin consisting of a goat anti-mouse antibody linked to the ribosome inactivating protein Saporin-6 specifically inhibits cell proliferation in vitro. Moreover, an anti-HSP60 immunotoxin prepared by direct linking of the specific monoclonal antibody (MoAb) ML30 to saporin was able to inhibit the proliferation of the U937 line in vitro, and tumor growth in SCID mice bearing the human pancreatic carcinoma line HPC-4 in vivo. Finally, low expression of HSPs on the membrane of peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and their resistance to the toxic effect exerted by anti-HSP immunotoxins, suggest further evaluation of the possible applications of anti-HSP immunotoxins for HSP + tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-62
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • HSP
  • Immunotoxins
  • Surface expression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Physiology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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