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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in Oncotarget Volume 5, Issue 19, October 2014, Pages 9460-9471.

The published version is available online here. Copyright © Impact Journals LLC


The emergence of targeted cancer therapy has been limited by the paucity of determinants which are tumor-specific and generally associated with disease, and have cell dynamics which effectively deploy cytotoxic payloads. Guanylyl cyclase C (GUCY2C) may be ideal for targeting because it is normally expressed only in insulated barrier compartments, including intestine and brain, but over-expressed by systemic metastatic colorectal tumors. Here, we reveal that GUCY2C rapidly internalizes from the cell surface to lysosomes in intestinal and colorectal cancer cells. Endocytosis is independent of ligand binding and receptor activation, and is mediated by clathrin. This mechanism suggests a design for immunotoxins comprising a GUCY2C-directed monoclonal antibody conjugated through a reducible disulfide linkage to ricin A chain, which is activated to a potent cytotoxin in lysosomes. Indeed, this immunotoxin specifically killed GUCY2C-expressing colorectal cancer cells in a lysosomal- and clathrin-dependent fashion. Moreover, this immunotoxin reduced pulmonary tumors >80% (p

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