Immunotoxins: an update

Annu Rev Immunol. 1996;14:49-71. doi: 10.1146/annurev.immunol.14.1.49.


The use of immunotoxins (ITs) in the therapy of cancer, graft-vs-host disease (GvHD), autoimmune diseases, and AIDS has been ongoing for the past two decades. ITs contain a targeting moiety for delivery and a toxic moiety for cytotoxicity. Theoretically, one molecule of a toxin, routed to the appropriate cellular compartment, will be lethal to a cell. Newly developed MoAbs, toxins, and molecular biological technologies have enabled researchers to construct ITs that can effectively kill many different cell types. In fact, phase I/II clinical trials have given promising results. Although nonspecific toxicity and immunogenicity still limit the use of IT therapy, these agents hold enormous promise in an optimal setting to treat minimal disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / trends
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Active / trends*
  • Immunotoxins / therapeutic use*


  • Immunotoxins