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Nat Med. 1997 Jun;3(6):682-5.

Monoclonal antibodies against the 4-1BB T-cell activation molecule eradicate established tumors.

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  • 1Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Seattle, Washington 98121, USA.


The 4-1BB glycoprotein is a member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily and binds to a high-affinity ligand (4-1BBL) expressed on several antigen-presenting cells such as macrophages and activated B cells. Expression of 4-1BB is restricted to primed CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, and 4-1BB signaling either by binding to 4-1BBL or by antibody ligation delivers a dual mitogenic signal for T-cell activation and growth. These observations suggest an important role for 4-1BB in the amplification of T cell-mediated immune responses. We now show that administration of anti-4-1BB monoclonal antibodies can eradicate established large tumors in mice, including the poorly immunogenic Ag104A sarcoma and the highly tumorigenic P815 masto cytoma. The immune response induced by anti-4- 1BB monoclonal antibodies is mediated by both CD8+ and CD4+ T cells and is accompanied by a marked augmentation of tumor-selective cytolytic T-cell activity. Our data suggest that a similar approach may be efficacious for immunotherapy of human cancer.

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