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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2012, Article ID 480429, 15 pages
Review Article

Toxin-Based Targeted Therapy for Malignant Brain Tumors

1Department of Pathology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA
2Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA
3Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA

Received 28 September 2011; Accepted 3 November 2011

Academic Editor: Michael H. Kershaw

Copyright © 2012 Vidyalakshmi Chandramohan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Despite advances in conventional treatment modalities for malignant brain tumors—surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy—the prognosis for patients with high-grade astrocytic tumor remains dismal. The highly heterogeneous and diffuse nature of astrocytic tumors calls for the development of novel therapies. Advances in genomic and proteomic research indicate that treatment of brain tumor patients can be increasingly personalized according to the characteristics of the targeted tumor and its environment. Consequently, during the last two decades, a novel class of investigative drug candidates for the treatment of central nervous system neoplasia has emerged: recombinant fusion protein conjugates armed with cytotoxic agents targeting tumor-specific antigens. The clinical applicability of the tumor-antigen-directed cytotoxic proteins as a safe and viable therapy for brain tumors is being investigated. Thus far, results from ongoing clinical trials are encouraging, as disease stabilization and patient survival prolongation have been observed in at least 109 cases. This paper summarizes the major findings pertaining to treatment with the different antiglioma cytotoxins at the preclinical and clinical stages.