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Mol Cancer Ther. 2020 Mar;19(3):790-801. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-19-0221. Epub 2019 Dec 23.

Monoclonal Antibody Targeting Sialyl-di-Lewisa-Containing Internalizing and Noninternalizing Glycoproteins with Cancer Immunotherapy Development Potential.

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Division of Cancer and Stem Cells, School of Medicine, City Hospital Campus, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom.
Scancell Limited, University of Nottingham Biodiscovery Institute, Nottingham, United Kingdom.
Section of Surgery, School of Medicine, Queens Medical Centre, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom.
Division of Cancer and Stem Cells, School of Medicine, City Hospital Campus, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom.


Tumor glycans constitute attractive targets for therapeutic antibodies. The sialylated glycocalyx plays a prominent role in cancer progression and immune evasion. Here, we describe the characterization of the mAb, FG129, which targets tumor-associated sialylated glycan, and demonstrate its potential for multimodal cancer therapy. FG129, obtained through BALB/c mouse immunizations with liposomes containing membrane glycan extracts from the colorectal cancer cell line LS180, is an mIgG1κ that targets sialyl-di-Lewisa-containing glycoproteins. FG129, as well as its chimeric human IgG1 variant, CH129, binds with nanomolar functional affinity to a range of colorectal, pancreatic, and gastric cancer cell lines. FG129 targets 74% (135/182) of pancreatic, 50% (46/92) of gastric, 36% (100/281) of colorectal, 27% (89/327) of ovarian, and 21% (42/201) of non-small cell lung cancers, by IHC. In our pancreatic cancer cohort, high FG129 glyco-epitope expression was significantly associated with poor prognosis (P = 0.004). Crucially, the glyco-epitope displays limited normal tissue distribution, with FG129 binding weakly to a small percentage of cells within gallbladder, ileum, liver, esophagus, pancreas, and thyroid tissues. Owing to glyco-epitope internalization, we validated payload delivery by CH129 through monomethyl auristatin E (MMAE) or maytansinoid (DM1 and DM4) conjugation. All three CH129 drug conjugates killed high-binding colorectal and pancreatic cancer cell lines with (sub)nanomolar potency, coinciding with significant in vivo xenograft tumor control by CH129-vcMMAE. CH129, with its restricted normal tissue distribution, avid tumor binding, and efficient payload delivery, is a promising candidate for the treatment of sialyl-di-Lewisa-expressing solid tumors, as an antibody-drug conjugate or as an alternative cancer immunotherapy modality.

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