The systemic administration of Ig-4-1BB ligand in combination with IL-12 gene transfer eradicates hepatic colon carcinoma

D-P Xu, B V Sauter, T-G Huang, M Meseck, S L C Woo, S-H Chen
Gene Therapy 2005, 12 (20): 1526-33
We have previously shown that the local-membrane bound 4-1BB ligand and IL-12 gene transfer induced a significant antitumor response in a mouse colon carcinoma model. However, a high viral dose was required in order to achieve the best efficacy. In this study, we hypothesize that the systemic administration of soluble Ig-4-1BB ligand can give rise to better T-cell immune activation than local gene delivery. With potential clinical applications in mind, we further compare whether the natural 4-1BB ligand fused to mouse IgG2a (Ig-4-1BBL) would be as effective as the agonistic anti-4-1BB antibody. The dimeric form of Ig-4-1BBL was purified from HeLa cells transduced with a recombinant adenovirus (ADV/Ig-4-1BBL) expressing Ig-4-1BBL. Functional activity was confirmed by the ligand's ability to bind to activated splenic T cells or bone marrow (BM)-derived dendritic cells (DCs) that express 4-1BB receptor. The soluble Ig-4-1BBL efficiently costimulated CD3-activated T-cell proliferation in vitro. More importantly, it induced tumor-specific CTLs as effectively as the agonistic anti-4-1BB antibody. When combined with IL-12 gene transfer, systemic administration of the Ig-4-1BBL proved to be more potent than local gene delivery. In addition, the Ig-4-1BBL is as potent as the agonistic anti-4-1BB antibody for the treatment of hepatic MCA26 colon carcinoma, resulting in 50% complete tumor regression and long-term survival. In long-term surviving mice, both treatment modalities induced persistent tumor-specific CTL activity. In summary, these results suggest that the systemic delivery of Ig-4-1BBL can generate a better antitumor response than local gene delivery. Ig-4-1BBL had equivalent biological functions when compared to the agonistic anti-4-1BB antibody. Thus, soluble 4-1BBL dimmer can be developed as a promising agent for cancer therapy in humans.

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