DT388-GM-CSF, a novel fusion toxin consisting of a truncated diphtheria toxin fused to human granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, prolongs host survival in a SCID mouse model of acute myeloid leukemia

P. D. Hall, M. C. Willingham, R. J. Kreitman, A. E. Frankel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations


Despite significant advances in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the majority of patients will succumb to drug-resistant AML. To overcome this resistance, we have developed a novel fusion toxin consisting of the catalytic and translocation subunits of diphtheria toxin (DT388) linked to human granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). In vitro, DT388-GM-CSF demonstrated significant activity against numerous AML cell lines and fresh AML blasts. To determine its in vivo efficacy, we developed an in vivo model of human AML in severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice injected intravenously with 1 x 107 HL-60 cells (AML-M2 cell line). The SCID mice developed abdominal masses, infiltration of the liver and bone marrow, and peripheral blasts with a median survival of 42.5 days. We tested DT388-GM-CSF, ara-C, human GM-CSF, and DAB389IL-2, which were injected intraperitoneally on days 2-6 in this model. DT388-GM-CSF significantly improved survival of the SCID mice over Ara-C, DAB389IL-2, or control (P < 0.001). DT388-GM-CSF-treated mice who developed leukemia exhibited no difference in the number of GM-CSF receptors (P = 0.39), ligand affinity (P = 0.77), or sensitivity (P = 0.56) to DT388-GM-CSF as compared to the controls. Frank leukemia in DT388-GM-CSF-treated mice may be due to incomplete penetration of drug into tissues rather than cellular resistance. DT388-GM-CSF is an active therapeutic agent in our SCID mouse model of AML with a unique mechanism of action and differing toxicities than current cytotoxic agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)629-633
Number of pages5
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999



  • SCID mouse leukemia model
  • huGM-CSF diphtheria toxin fusion protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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