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Clin Cancer Res. 2006 Jan 1;12(1):183-90.

Anti-CD3 x anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) bispecific antibody redirects T-cell cytolytic activity to EGFR-positive cancers in vitro and in an animal model.

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Cancer Immunotherapy Program, Adele R. Decof Cancer Center, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.



Targeting epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) overexpressed by many epithelial-derived cancer cells with anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies (mAb) inhibits their growth. A limited number of clinical responses in patients treated with the anti-EGFR mAb, (cetuximab), may reflect variability in EGFR type or signaling in neoplastic cells. This study combines EGFR-targeting with the non-MHC-restricted cytotoxicity of anti-CD3 activated T cells (ATC) to enhance receptor-directed cytotoxicity.


ATC from normal and patient donors were expanded ex vivo. Specific cytolytic activity of ATC armed with anti-CD3 x anti-EGFR (EGFRBi) against EGFR-expressing cancer cells derived from lung, pancreas, colon, prostate, brain, skin, or EGFR-negative breast cancer cells was evaluated in (51)Cr release assays. In vivo studies comparing tumor growth delay induced by EGFRBi-armed ATCs or cetuximab were done in severe combined immunodeficient/Beige mice (SCID-Beige) bearing COLO 356/FG pancreatic and LS174T colorectal tumors.


At effector/target ratios from 3.125 to 50, both EGFRBi-armed normal and patient ATC were significantly more cytotoxic, by 23% to 79%, against EGFR-positive cells over ATC, cetuximab, anti-CD3 alone, or ATC armed with irrelevant BiAb directed at CD20. EGFRBi-armed ATC also secreted significantly higher levels of some T(H1)/T(H2) cytokines compared with ATC alone. In mice, i.v. infusions of EGFRBi-armed ATC (0.001 mg equivalent/infusion) were equally effective as cetuximab (1 mg/infusion) alone for significantly delaying growth of established COLO 356/FG but not LS174T tumors compared with mice that received ATC alone or vehicle (P < 0.001).


Combining EGFR antibody targeting with T cell-mediated cytotoxicity may overcome some limitations associated with EGFR-targeting when using cetuximab alone.

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