Expression and targeting of interleukin-4 receptor for primary and advanced ovarian cancer therapy

Cancer Res. 2005 Sep 15;65(18):8388-96. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-05-1043.


Because the most characteristic property of ovarian cancer is i.p. spread, the majority of patients are diagnosed at an advanced stage, leading to limited availability of options for curative therapies. With an intent to identify targeted therapeutic approaches, we have observed that approximately 60% of 21 ovarian cancer tissue samples express a high density of interleukin-4 receptor (IL-4R), whereas normal ovarian tissues tested (n = 7) expressed no or low levels of IL-4R. To target IL-4R, we have developed IL-4 cytotoxin, in which circular-permuted IL-4 is fused to a mutated form of Pseudomonas exotoxin. This cytotoxin is specifically and highly cytotoxic to PA-1, IGROV-1, and SK-OV3 ovarian carcinoma cell lines in vitro. In addition, it shows remarkable antitumor activities against established s.c. ovarian tumors in immunodeficient animals. i.p. administration of IL-4 cytotoxin in mice with orthotopically implanted ovarian tumors caused regression of established tumors and prevented these animals from tumor metastasis. Continuous i.p. infusion of IL-4 cytotoxin prolonged survival of tumor-bearing mice even with bulky disease. These results indicate that IL-4R-targeted cytotoxin may be a useful agent for the management of patients with ovarian cancer, and further studies need to be done to evaluate its safety, tolerability, and efficacy.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cachexia / prevention & control
  • Cell Growth Processes / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Exotoxins / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-4 / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Receptors, Interleukin-4 / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Interleukin-4 / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Exotoxins
  • IL-4-PE40 protein, recombinant
  • Receptors, Interleukin-4
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Interleukin-4