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Clin Cancer Res. 2008 Nov 15;14(22):7367-77. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-08-1016.

Diabodies targeting epithelial membrane protein 2 reduce tumorigenicity of human endometrial cancer cell lines.

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  • 1Molecular Biology Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.



Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecologic malignancy. One promising biomarker is epithelial membrane protein 2 (EMP2), and its expression is an independent prognostic indicator for tumors with poor clinical outcome expression. The present study assesses the suitability of EMP2 as a therapeutic target.


Human monovalent anti-EMP2 antibody fragments were isolated from a human phage display library and engineered as bivalent antibody fragments (diabodies) with specificity and avidity to both EMP2 peptides and native cell-surface EMP2 protein. Diabodies were assessed using cell death and apoptosis assays. In addition, the efficacy of EMP2 diabodies on endometrial cancer tumors was determined using mouse xenograft models.


Treatment of human endometrial adenocarcinoma cell lines with anti-EMP2 diabodies induced significant cell death and caspase-3 cleavage in vitro. These responses correlated with cellular EMP2 expression and were augmented by progesterone, which physiologically induces EMP2 expression. In vivo, treatment of subcutaneous human xenografts of HEC-1A cell lines with anti-EMP2 diabodies suppressed tumor growth and induced cell death in the xenograft.


These findings suggest that EMP2 may be a potential pharmacologic target for human endometrial cancer.

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