Selective targeting and potent control of tumor growth using an EphA2/CD3-Bispecific single-chain antibody construct

Scott A Hammond, Ralf Lutterbuese, Shannon Roff, Petra Lutterbuese, Bernd Schlereth, Elizabeth Bruckheimer, Michael S Kinch, Steve Coats, Patrick A Baeuerle, Peter Kufer, Peter A Kiener
Cancer Research 2007 April 15, 67 (8): 3927-35
The EphA2 receptor tyrosine kinase is frequently overexpressed and functionally altered in malignant cells and thus provides opportunities for selective targeting of tumor cells. We describe here the development of a novel, bispecific single-chain antibody (bscAb) referred to as bscEphA2xCD3. This molecule simultaneously targets EphA2 on tumor cells and the T-cell receptor/CD3 complex on T cells and possesses structural and functional characteristics of the recently developed BiTE technology. An EphA2-specific single-chain antibody was selected for recognition of an epitope that is preferentially exposed on malignant cells based on the concept of epitope exclusion; this was fused to a CD3-specific single-chain antibody to generate bscEphA2xCD3. The resultant bscAb redirected unstimulated human T cells to lyse EphA2-expressing tumor cells both in vitro and in vivo. In separate experiments, efficient tumor cell lysis was achieved in vitro at drug concentrations <or=1 microg/mL, at a low T-cell effector-to-tumor target cell ratio (1:1), and with tumor cells that possess few available binding sites (2,400 per cell) for bscEphA2xCD3. Time-lapsed microscopy revealed potent cytotoxic activity of bscEphA2xCD3-activated T cells against monolayers of malignant cells but not against monolayers of nontransformed EphA2-positive cells except at the edges of the monolayer where the target epitope was exposed. BscEphA2xCD3 was also efficacious in human xenograft mouse models modified to show human T-cell killing of tumors. Together, our results reveal opportunities for redirecting the potent activity of cytotoxic T cells towards tumor cells that express selectively accessible epitopes and establish EphA2-specific bscAb molecules as novel and potent therapeutics with selectivity for tumor cells.

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