Theranostics 2018; 8(13):3544-3558. doi:10.7150/thno.24607

Research Paper

A novel HPV16 E7-affitoxin for targeted therapy of HPV16-induced human cervical cancer

Pengfei Jiang1*, Lude Wang1*, Bailong Hou1*, Jinshun Zhu1, Meng Zhou1, Jie Jiang1, Ledan Wang2, Shao Chen1, Shanli Zhu1, Jun Chen1, Lifang Zhang1✉

1. Institute of Molecular Virology and Immunology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou 325035, Zhejiang, P. R. China
2. Department of Gynecology, the Second Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou 325035, Zhejiang, China.
* These three authors contributed equally to this research.


Cervical cancer, the second most common cause of cancer death in women worldwide, is significantly associated with infection of high-risk human papillomaviruses (HPVs), especially the most common genotype, HPV 16. To date, there is no established noninvasive therapy to treat cervical cancer.

Methods: Here, we report a novel affitoxin that targets HPV16 E7 protein, one of the primary target proteins in molecular targeted therapy for HPV-induced cervical cancer. The affitoxin, ZHPV16E7 affitoxin384 was generated by fusing the modified Pseudomonas Exotoxin A (PE38KDEL) to the HPV16 E7-specific affibody. The expressed and purified ZHPV16E7 affitoxin384 was characterized using numerous methods. SPR assay, indirect immunofluorescence assay, and near-infrared (NIR) optical imaging were respectively performed to assess the targeting ability of ZHPV16E7 affitoxin384 to HPV16 E7 protein both in vitro and in vivo. Cell viability assays and SiHa tumor-bearing nude mice were used to evaluate the efficacy of ZHPV16 E7 affitoxin384 in vitro and in vivo, respectively.

Results: Using in vitro methods the SPR assay and indirect immunofluorescence assay showed that ZHPV16E7 affitoxin384 targeted HPV16 E7 with high binding affinity and specificity. Significant reduction of cell viability in HPV16 positive cells was observed in the presence of ZHPV16 E7 affitoxin384. By NIR optical imaging, ZHPV16 E7 affitoxin384 specifically targeted HPV16 positive tumors in vivo. ZHPV16E7 affitoxin384 showed significant in vivo antitumor efficacy in two kinds of tumor-bearing nude mouse models.

Conclusions: ZHPV16E7 affitoxin384 is a potent anti-cervical cancer therapeutic agent that could be effective against HPV16 positive tumors in humans.

Keywords: HPV16, affitoxin, targeted therapy, cervical cancer

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How to cite this article:
Jiang P, Wang L, Hou B, Zhu J, Zhou M, Jiang J, Wang L, Chen S, Zhu S, Chen J, Zhang L. A novel HPV16 E7-affitoxin for targeted therapy of HPV16-induced human cervical cancer. Theranostics 2018; 8(13):3544-3558. doi:10.7150/thno.24607. Available from