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Blood. 2010 Jul 15;116(2):226-38. doi: 10.1182/blood-2009-11-253617. Epub 2010 Apr 2.

In vivo targeting and growth inhibition of the A20 murine B-cell lymphoma by an idiotype-specific peptide binder.

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Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, University of Catanzaro Magna Graecia, Catanzaro, Italy.


B-cell lymphoma is a clonal expansion of neoplastic cells that may result in fatal outcomes. Here, we report the in vivo targeting and growth inhibition of aggressive A20 murine B-cell lymphoma by idiotype-specific peptide pA20-36. pA20-36 was selected from random peptide libraries and bound specifically to the B-cell receptor (BCR) of A20 cells in mice engrafted with A20 lymphoma, as shown by histology and positron emission tomographic analysis. BCR cross-linking of A20 cells with pA20-36 resulted in massive apoptosis of targeted tumor cells and in an increased survival of the diseased animals without any detectable evidence of toxicity. The pA20-36 treatment reverted the immune suppression of the tumor microenvironment as shown by reduced expression of vascular endothelial growth factor, interleukin-10, and transforming growth factor-beta cytokines together with a lower number of CD11b+Gr-1+ inhibitor myeloid-derived suppressor cells and Foxp3+CD4+ Treg cells. Furthermore, pA20-36 treatment was associated with an increased number of tumor-infiltrating, activated CD8+ T cells that exerted a tumor-specific cytolytic activity. These findings show that a short peptide that binds specifically to the complementarity-determining regions of the A20 BCR allows in vivo detection of neoplastic cells together with significant inhibition of tumor growth in vivo.

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