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Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2005 Apr;54(4):315-27. Epub 2004 Dec 11.

Carcinoembryonic antigen antibody inhibits lung metastasis and augments chemotherapy in a human colonic carcinoma xenograft.

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Center for Molecular Medicine and Immunology, Garden State Cancer Center, 520 Belleville Avenue, Belleville, NJ 07109, USA.



In addition to its use as a blood marker for many carcinomas, elevated expression of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA, CD66e, CEACAM5) has been implicated in various biological aspects of neoplasia, especially tumor cell adhesion, metastasis, the blocking of cellular immune mechanisms, and having antiapoptosis functions. However, it is not known if treatment with anti-CEA antibodies can affect tumor metastasis or alter the effects of cytotoxic drugs.


In vitro, human colon cancer cell lines were treated with anti-CEA MAb IgG1, hMN-14 (labetuzumab), to assess direct effects on proliferation, as well as antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC), and complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC). In vivo studies were undertaken in nude mice bearing s.c. (local growth) or i.v. (metastatic model) GW-39 and LS174T human colon cancer grafts, to evaluate the MAb alone and in combination with either CPT-11 or 5-fluorouracil (5FU).


In vitro, labetuzumab did not induce apoptosis, nor did it affect tumor cell proliferation directly or by CDC, but it did inhibit tumor cell proliferation by ADCC. In vivo, labetuzumab did not increase median survival in the GW-39 metastatic model unless the mice were pretreated with GM-CSF to increase their peripheral WBC counts; GM-CSF alone was ineffective. Also, if GW-39 tumors were pretreated with IFN-gamma to up-regulate CEA expression threefold prior to i.v. injection, labetuzumab significantly increased median survival of the mice. When nude mice received labetuzumab with CPT-11 or 5FU, median survival increased significantly as compared to the drug or antibody alone.


Labetuzumab, a CEA-specific MAb, induces effector-cell function in vitro against CEA-positive colonic tumor cells, and also inhibits growth of lung metastasis when CEA expression is up-regulated or if peripheral WBCs are increased. The MAb also shows chemosensitizing properties.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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