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Mol Cancer Ther. 2012 Jan;11(1):224-34. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-11-0632. Epub 2011 Oct 28.

Epratuzumab-SN-38: a new antibody-drug conjugate for the therapy of hematologic malignancies.

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Garden State Cancer Center, 300 American Road, Morris Plains, New Jersey 07950, USA.


We previously found that slowly internalizing antibodies conjugated with SN-38 could be used successfully when prepared with a linker that allows approximately 50% of the IgG-bound SN-38 to dissociate in serum every 24 hours. In this study, the efficacy of SN-38 conjugates prepared with epratuzumab (rapidly internalizing) and veltuzumab (slowly internalizing), humanized anti-CD22 and anti-CD20 IgG, respectively, was examined for the treatment of B-cell malignancies. Both antibody-drug conjugates had similar nanomolar activity against a variety of human lymphoma/leukemia cell lines, but slow release of SN-38 compromised potency discrimination in vitro even against an irrelevant conjugate. When SN-38 was stably linked to the anti-CD22 conjugate, its potency was reduced 40- to 55-fold. Therefore, further studies were conducted only with the less stable, slowly dissociating linker. In vivo, similar antitumor activity was found between CD22 and CD20 antibody-drug conjugate in mice-bearing Ramos xenografts, even though Ramos expressed 15-fold more CD20 than CD22, suggesting that the internalization of the epratuzumab-SN-38 conjugate (Emab-SN-38) enhanced its activity. Emab-SN-38 was more efficacious than a nonbinding, irrelevant IgG-SN-38 conjugate in vivo, eliminating a majority of well-established Ramos xenografts at nontoxic doses. In vitro and in vivo studies showed that Emab-SN-38 could be combined with unconjugated veltuzumab for a more effective treatment. Thus, Emab-SN-38 is active in lymphoma and leukemia at doses well below toxic levels and therefore represents a new promising agent with therapeutic potential alone or combined with anti-CD20 antibody therapy.

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