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Cancer Res. 2013 Apr 1;73(7):2070-81. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-3526. Epub 2013 Feb 11.

Targeting uPAR with antagonistic recombinant human antibodies in aggressive breast cancer.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Research Center, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


Components of the plasminogen activation system, which are overexpressed in aggressive breast cancer subtypes, offer appealing targets for development of new diagnostics and therapeutics. By comparing gene expression data in patient populations and cultured cell lines, we identified elevated levels of the urokinase plasminogen activation receptor (uPAR, PLAUR) in highly aggressive breast cancer subtypes and cell lines. Recombinant human anti-uPAR antagonistic antibodies exhibited potent binding in vitro to the surface of cancer cells expressing uPAR. In vivo these antibodies detected uPAR expression in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) tumor xenografts using near infrared imaging and (111)In single-photon emission computed tomography. Antibody-based uPAR imaging probes accurately detected small disseminated lesions in a tumor metastasis model, complementing the current clinical imaging standard (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose at detecting non-glucose-avid metastatic lesions. A monotherapy study using the antagonistic antibodies resulted in a significant decrease in tumor growth in a TNBC xenograft model. In addition, a radioimmunotherapy study, using the anti-uPAR antibodies conjugated to the therapeutic radioisotope (177)Lu, found that they were effective at reducing tumor burden in vivo. Taken together, our results offer a preclinical proof of concept for uPAR targeting as a strategy for breast cancer diagnosis and therapy using this novel human antibody technology.

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