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Cancer Immunol Res. 2015 Dec;3(12):1316-24. doi: 10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-15-0099-T. Epub 2015 Sep 25.

Simultaneous Targeting of FcγRs and FcαRI Enhances Tumor Cell Killing.

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Immunotherapy Laboratory, Laboratory for Translational Immunology, UMC Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Department of Blood Cell Research, Sanquin Research and Landsteiner Laboratory, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Developmental Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics, Gedeon Richter Plc, Budapest, Hungary.
Synthon Biopharmaceuticals B.V., Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
Division of Stem Cell Transplantation and Immunotherapy, Department of Internal Medicine II, Christian-Albrechts-University, Kiel, Germany.
Immunotherapy Laboratory, Laboratory for Translational Immunology, UMC Utrecht, the Netherlands.


Efficacy of anticancer monoclonal antibodies (mAb) is limited by the exhaustion of effector mechanisms. IgG mAbs mediate cellular effector functions through FcγRs expressed on effector cells. IgA mAbs can also induce efficient tumor killing both in vitro and in vivo. IgA mAbs recruit FcαRI-expressing effector cells and therefore initiate different effector mechanisms in vivo compared with IgG. Here, we studied killing of tumor cells coexpressing EGFR and HER2 by the IgG mAbs cetuximab and trastuzumab and their IgA variants. In the presence of a heterogeneous population of effector cells (leukocytes), the combination of IgG and IgA mAbs to two different tumor targets (EGFR and HER2) led to enhanced cytotoxicity compared with each isotype alone. Combination of two IgGs or two IgAs or IgG and IgA against the same target did not enhance cytotoxicity. Increased cytotoxicity relied on the presence of both the peripheral blood mononuclear cell and the polymorphonuclear (PMN) fraction. Purified natural killer cells were only cytotoxic with IgG, whereas cytotoxicity induced by PMNs was strong with IgA and poor with IgG. Monocytes, which coexpress FcγRs and FcαRI, also displayed increased cytotoxicity by the combination of IgG and IgA in an overnight killing assay. Coinjection of cetuximab and IgA2-HER2 resulted in increased antitumor effects compared with either mAb alone in a xenograft model with A431-luc2-HER2 cells. Thus, the combination of IgG and IgA isotypes optimally mobilizes cellular effectors for cytotoxicity, representing a promising novel strategy to improve mAb therapy.

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