Immunotoxin targeting glypican-3 regresses liver cancer via dual inhibition of Wnt signalling and protein synthesis
Glypican-3 is a cell surface glycoprotein that associates with Wnt in liver cancer. We develop two antibodies targeting glypican-3, HN3 and YP7. The first antibody recognizes a functional epitope and inhibits Wnt signalling, whereas the second antibody recognizes a C-terminal epitope but does not inhibit Wnt signalling. Both are fused to a fragment of Pseudomonas exotoxin A (PE38) to create immunotoxins. Interestingly, the immunotoxin based on HN3 (HN3-PE38) has superior antitumor activity as compared with YP7 (YP7-PE38) both in vitro and in vivo. Intravenous administration of HN3-PE38 alone, or in combination with chemotherapy, induces regression of Hep3B and HepG2 liver tumour xenografts in mice. This study establishes glypican-3 as a promising candidate for immunotoxin-based liver cancer therapy. Our results demonstrate immunotoxin-induced tumour regression via dual mechanisms: inactivation of cancer signalling via the antibody and inhibition of protein synthesis via the toxin.