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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Sep 13;108(37):15336-41. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1102855108. Epub 2011 Aug 25.

Exosomal evasion of humoral immunotherapy in aggressive B-cell lymphoma modulated by ATP-binding cassette transporter A3.

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Department of Hematology and Oncology, Georg-August-University, D-37075 Goettingen, Germany.


Targeting the surface of malignant cells has evolved into a cornerstone in cancer therapy, paradigmatically introduced by the success of humoral immunotherapy against CD20 in malignant lymphoma. However, tumor cell susceptibility to immunochemotherapy varies, with mostly a fatal outcome in cases of resistant disease. Here, we show that lymphoma exosomes shield target cells from antibody attack and that exosome biogenesis is modulated by the lysosome-related organelle-associated ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter A3 (ABCA3). B-cell lymphoma cells released exosomes that carried CD20, bound therapeutic anti-CD20 antibodies, consumed complement, and protected target cells from antibody attack. ABCA3, previously shown to mediate resistance to chemotherapy, was critical for the amounts of exosomes released, and both pharmacological blockade and the silencing of ABCA3 enhanced susceptibility of target cells to antibody-mediated lysis. Mechanisms of cancer cell resistance to drugs and antibodies are linked in an ABCA3-dependent pathway of exosome secretion.

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