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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Feb 8;102(6):1915-20. Epub 2005 Jan 31.

Synergistic down-regulation of receptor tyrosine kinases by combinations of mAbs: implications for cancer immunotherapy.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel.


mAbs to receptor tyrosine kinases such as EGF receptor/ErbB-1 and HER2/ErbB-2 inhibit the tumorigenic growth of certain cancer cells, but although recombinant versions of such Abs are already used in oncology wards, the mechanism underlying immunotherapy remains unknown. We report that anti-EGF receptor Abs promote a slow endocytic process distinct from the rapid EGF-induced receptor internalization. Combining mAbs that engage distinct epitopes significantly accelerates receptor degradation. In addition, mAb combinations are more effective than single Abs in inhibiting HER2 signaling in vitro and tumorigenesis in animals. We present a model attributing efficacy of immunotherapy to the size of Ab-receptor lattices formed at the cell surface, which dictates the rate of endocytic clearance and extent of signaling blockade.

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