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Blood. 2004 Oct 15;104(8):2540-2. Epub 2004 Jun 22.

A new anti-idiotype antibody capable of binding rituximab on the surface of lymphoma cells.

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Tenovus Research Laboratory, Cancer Sciences Division, School of Medicine, University General Hospital, Tremona Road, Southampton, SO16 6YD United Kingdom.


The chimeric anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody (mAb), rituximab, is an established part of the management of many non-Hodgkin lymphomas. The in vivo action of rituximab remains elusive, and this partially reflects a lack of highly specific reagents to detect rituximab binding at the cell surface. Here we report a new high-affinity mAb (MB2A4) with fine specificity for the idiotype of rituximab. It is able to detect rituximab in vitro, in the presence of high levels of human immunoglobulin G (IgG), in the serum of patients receiving rituximab therapy, and, surprisingly, when rituximab is bound to CD20 on the cell surface. We propose that the anti-idiotype (Id) binds to rituximab molecules bound univalently at the cell surface, facilitated by the relatively high off-rate of rituximab. This reagent provides new insights into the binding of rituximab at the cell surface and demonstrates a mode of binding that could be exploited for the surface detection of other mAbs with clinical and biologic applications.

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