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Clin Cancer Res. 2008 Oct 15;14(20):6515-24. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-07-5041.

Antibody-mediated delivery of interleukin-2 to the stroma of breast cancer strongly enhances the potency of chemotherapy.

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Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.



There is an interest in the discovery of biopharmaceuticals, which are well tolerated and which potentiate the action of anthracyclines and taxanes in breast cancer therapy.


We have produced a recombinant fusion protein, composed of the human antibody fragment scFv(F16) fused to human interleukin-2 (F16-IL2), and tested its therapeutic performance in the MDA-MB-231 xenograft model of human breast cancer. The F16 antibody is specific to the alternatively spliced A1 domain of tenascin-C, which is virtually undetectable in normal tissues but is strongly expressed in the neovasculature and stroma of breast cancer.


When used as monotherapy, F16-IL2 displayed a strikingly superior therapeutic benefit compared with unconjugated recombinant IL-2. The administration of doxorubicin either before (8 days, 24 h, or 2 h) or simultaneously with the injection of F16-IL2 did not decrease the accumulation of immunocytokine in the tumor as measured by quantitative biodistribution analysis. Therapy experiments, featuring five once per week coadministrations of 20 mug F16-IL2 and doxorubicin, showed a statistically significant reduction of tumor growth rate and prolongation of survival at a 4 mg/kg doxorubicin dose but not at a 1 mg/kg dose. By contrast, combination of F16-IL2 with paclitaxel (5 and 1 mg/kg) exhibited a significant therapeutic benefit compared with paclitaxel alone at both dose levels. F16-IL2, alone or in combination with doxorubicin, was well tolerated in cynomolgus monkeys at doses equivalent to the ones now used in clinical studies.


F16-IL2 may represent a new useful biopharmaceutical for the treatment of breast cancer.

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