Human antibody derivatives against the fibroblast activation protein for tumor stroma targeting of carcinomas

M Mersmann, A Schmidt, J F Rippmann, T Wüest, B Brocks, W J Rettig, P Garin-Chesa, K Pfizenmaier, D Moosmayer
International Journal of Cancer. Journal International du Cancer 2001 April 15, 92 (2): 240-8
The fibroblast activation protein (FAP) is selectively expressed on activated fibroblasts of the tumor stroma on more than 90% of lung, breast and colon carcinomas. The high prevalence and abundance of FAP(+) stroma make it a promising target for in vivo diagnosis and therapy of a variety of carcinomas. We describe the humanization of the murine FAP-specific MAb, F19, which has already been clinically used for in vivo diagnostic purposes. Using phage display technology and human V-repertoires, VL and VH regions of F19 were replaced by analogous human V-regions while retaining the original HCDR3 sequence in order to maintain F19 epitope specificity. The resulting human single-chain fragments of immunoglobulin variable regions (scFv 34, scFv 18) showed affinities of 6 nM on cell membrane-bound FAP. scFv 34 was expressed as a bivalent minibody (Mb 34). The antigen-binding characteristics of Mb 34 were comparable to the parental and a complementarity-determining region (CDR)-grafted version of F19. This was revealed by binding competition studies, FACS analyses and immunohistochemistry on various tumor samples including breast, colon and lung carcinomas. Importantly, compared with the CDR-grafted humanized scFv version of F19, the V-regions of the selected human scFv 34 showed sequence identity with the parental antibody (Ab) only over the short, 15-amino acid long HCDR3. Thus, a largely reduced xenoantigenic potential is expected. These human Ab derivatives are suitable to develop novel therapeutic concepts with broad applicability for a wide variety of histological carcinomas based on tumor stroma targeting.

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