Bispecific T cell engager (BiTE®) antibody constructs can mediate bystander tumor cell killing

Sandra L Ross, Marika Sherman, Patricia L McElroy, Julie A Lofgren, Gordon Moody, Patrick A Baeuerle, Angela Coxon, Tara Arvedson
PloS One 2017, 12 (8): e0183390
For targets that are homogenously expressed, such as CD19 on cells of the B lymphocyte lineage, immunotherapies can be highly effective. Targeting CD19 with blinatumomab, a CD19/CD3 bispecific antibody construct (BiTE®), or with chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CAR-T) has shown great promise for treating certain CD19-positive hematological malignancies. In contrast, solid tumors with heterogeneous expression of the tumor-associated antigen (TAA) may present a challenge for targeted therapies. To prevent escape of TAA-negative cancer cells, immunotherapies with a local bystander effect would be beneficial. As a model to investigate BiTE®-mediated bystander killing in the solid tumor setting, we used epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) as a target. We measured lysis of EGFR-negative populations in vitro and in vivo when co-cultured with EGFR-positive cells, human T cells and an EGFR/CD3 BiTE® antibody construct. Bystander EGFR-negative cells were efficiently lysed by BiTE®-activated T cells only when proximal to EGFR-positive cells. Our mechanistic analysis suggests that cytokines released by BiTE®-activated T-cells induced upregulation of ICAM-1 and FAS on EGFR-negative bystander cells, contributing to T cell-induced bystander cell lysis.


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