Tribody [(HER2)2xCD16] Is More Effective Than Trastuzumab in Enhancing ?? T Cell and Natural Killer Cell Cytotoxicity Against HER2-Expressing Cancer Cells.
ABSTRACT: An enhanced expression of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2, ErbB2) often occurs in an advanced stage of breast, ovarian, gastric or esophageal cancer, and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Commonly, HER2 expression is associated with poor clinical outcome or chemoresistance in ovarian and breast cancer patients. Treatment with humanized anti-HER2 monoclonal antibodies, such as trastuzumab or pertuzumab, has improved the outcome of patients with HER2-positive metastatic gastric or breast cancer, but not all patients benefit. In this study, the bispecific antibody [(HER2)2xCD16] in the tribody format was employed to re-direct CD16-expressing ?? T lymphocytes as well as natural killer (NK) cells to the tumor-associated cell surface antigen HER2 to enhance their cytotoxic anti-tumor activity. Tribody [(HER2)2xCD16] comprises two HER2-specific single chain fragment variable fused to a fragment antigen binding directed to the CD16 (Fc?RIII) antigen expressed on ?? T cells and NK cells. Our results revealed the superiority of tribody [(HER2)2xCD16] compared to trastuzumab in triggering ?? T cell and NK cell-mediated lysis of HER2-expressing tumor cells, such as PDAC, breast cancer, and autologous primary ovarian tumors. The increased efficacy of [(HER2)2xCD16] can be explained by an enhanced degranulation of immune cells. Although CD16 expression was decreased on ?? T cells in several PDAC patients and the number of tumor-infiltrating NK cells and ???T cells was impaired in ovarian cancer patients, [(HER2)2xCD16] selectively enhanced cytotoxicity of cells from these patients. Here, unique anti-tumor properties of tribody [(HER2)2xCD16] are identified which beyond addressing HER2 overexpressing solid tumors may allow to treat with similar immunoconstructs combined with the adoptive transfer of ?? T cells and NK cells refractory hematological malignancies. A major advantage of ?? T cells and NK cells in the transplant situation of refractory hematological malignancies is given by their HLA-independent killing and a reduced graft-versus-host disease.
Project description:Optimal adoptive cell therapy (ACT) should contribute to effective cancer treatment. The unique ability of natural killer (NK) cells to kill cancer cells independent of major histocompatibility requirement makes them suitable as ACT tools. Herceptin, an antihuman epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (anti-HER2) monoclonal antibody, is used to treat HER2+ breast cancer. However, it has limited effectiveness and possible severe cardiotoxicity. Given that Herceptin may increase the cytotoxicity of lymphocytes, we explored the possible augmentation of NK cell cytotoxicity against HER2+ breast cancer cells by Herceptin. We demonstrated that Herceptin could interact with CD16 on NK cells to expand the cytotoxic NK (specifically, CD56dim) cell population. Additionally, Herceptin increased NK cell migration and cytotoxicity against HER2+ breast cancer cells. In a pilot study, Herceptin-treated NK cells shrunk lung nodular metastasis in a woman with HER2+ breast cancer who could not tolerate the cardiotoxic side effects of Herceptin. Our findings support the therapeutic potential of Herceptin-treated NK cells in patients with HER2+ and Herceptin-intolerant breast cancer.
Project description:In the treatment of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive advanced gastric or gastroesophageal junction cancer, it has been reported that the combination of trastuzumab with capecitabine plus cisplatin, or with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) plus cisplatin, significantly increased overall survival compared with chemotherapy alone (ToGA trial). In addition, adjuvant therapy with capecitabine plus oxaliplatin (XELOX) improved the survival of patients who received curative D2 gastrectomy (CLASSIC trial). However, the efficacy of the combination of trastuzumab with XELOX for patients with HER2-positive gastric cancer remains unknown. The aim of this study, was to investigate the efficacy of the combination of trastuzumab with XELOX in a HER2-positive human gastric cancer xenograft model. Combination treatment with these three agents (trastuzumab 20 mg/kg, capecitabine 359 mg/kg and oxaliplatin 10 mg/kg), was found to exhibit a significantly stronger antitumor activity in NCI-N87 xenografts compared with either trastuzumab or XELOX alone. In this model, treatment with trastuzumab alone or trastuzumab plus oxaliplatin enhanced the expression of thymidine phosphorylase (TP), a key enzyme in the generation of 5-FU from capecitabine in tumor tissues. In in vitro experiments, trastuzumab induced TP mRNA expression in NCI-N87 cells. In addition, NCI-N87 cells co-cultured with the natural killer (NK) cell line CD16(158V)/NK-92 exhibited increased expression of TP mRNA. When NCI-N87 cells were cultured with CD16(158V)/NK-92 cells in the presence of trastuzumab, the mRNA expression of cytokines reported to have the ability to induce TP was upregulated in tumor cells. Furthermore, a medium conditioned by CD16(158V)/NK-92 cells also upregulated the expression of TP mRNA in NCI-N87 cells. These results suggest that trastuzumab promotes TP expression, either by acting directly on NCI-N87 cells, or indirectly via a mechanism that includes trastuzumab-mediated interactions between NK and NCI-N87 cells. Therefore, the combination of trastuzumab with XELOX may be a potent therapy for HER2-positive gastric cancer.
Project description:Trastuzumab is the first-line drug to treat breast cancer with high Her2 expression. However, many cancers failed to respond, largely due to their resistance to NK cell-triggered antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). Poliovirus receptor (PVR)-like molecules are known to be important for lymphocyte functions. We found that all PVR-like receptors are expressed on human NK cells, and only TIGIT is preferentially expressed on the CD16+ NK cell subset. Disrupting the interactions of PVR-like receptors with their ligands on cancer cells regulates NK cell activity. More importantly, TIGIT is upregulated upon NK cell activation via ADCC. Blockade of TIGIT or CD112R, separately or together, enhances trastuzumab-triggered antitumor response by human NK cells. Thus, our findings suggest that PVR-like receptors regulate NK cell functions and can be targeted for improving trastuzumab therapy for breast cancer.
Project description:Trastuzumab, a monoclonal antibody targeting human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2; also known as HER-2/neu), is indicated for the treatment of women with either early stage or metastatic HER2(+) breast cancer. It kills tumor cells by several mechanisms, including antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). Strategies that enhance the activity of ADCC effectors, including NK cells, may improve the efficacy of trastuzumab. Here, we have shown that upon encountering trastuzumab-coated, HER2-overexpressing breast cancer cells, human NK cells become activated and express the costimulatory receptor CD137. CD137 activation, which was dependent on NK cell expression of the Fc?RIII receptor, occurred both in vitro and in the peripheral blood of women with HER2-expressing breast cancer after trastuzumab treatment. Stimulation of trastuzumab-activated human NK cells with an agonistic mAb specific for CD137 killed breast cancer cells (including an intrinsically trastuzumab-resistant cell line) more efficiently both in vitro and in vivo in xenotransplant models of human breast cancer, including one using a human primary breast tumor. The enhanced cytotoxicity was restricted to antibody-coated tumor cells. This sequential antibody strategy, combining a tumor-targeting antibody with a second antibody that activates the host innate immune system, may improve the therapeutic effects of antibodies against breast cancer and other HER2-expressing tumors.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Natural killer (NK) cells are lymphocytes well suited for adoptive immunotherapy. Attempts with adoptive NK cell immunotherapy against ovarian cancer have proven unsuccessful, with the main limitations including failure to expand and diminished effector function. We investigated if incubation of NK cells with interleukin (IL)-12, IL-15, and IL-18 for 16h could produce cytokine-induced memory-like (CIML) NK cells capable of enhanced function against ovarian cancer. METHODS:NK cells were preactivated briefly with IL-12, IL-15, and IL-18, rested, then placed against ovarian cancer targets to assess phenotype and function via flow cytometry. Real-time NK-cell-mediated tumor-killing was evaluated. Using ascites cells and cell-free ascites fluid, NK cell proliferation and function within the immunosuppressive microenvironment was evaluated in vitro. Finally, CIML NK cells were injected intraperitoneal (IP) into an in vivo xenogeneic mouse model of ovarian cancer. RESULTS:CIML NK cells demonstrate enhanced cytokine (IFN-?) production and NK-cell-mediated killing of ovarian cancer. NK cells treated overnight with cytokines led to robust activation characterized by temporal shedding of CD16, induction of CD25, and enhanced proliferation. CIML NK cells proliferate more with enhanced effector function compared to controls in an immunosuppressive microenvironment. Finally, human CIML NK cells exhibited potent antitumor effects within a xenogeneic mouse model of ovarian cancer. CONCLUSIONS:CIML NK cells have enhanced functionality and persistence against ovarian cancer in vitro and in vivo, even when exposed to ascites fluid. These findings provide a strategy for NK cell-based immunotherapy to circumvent the immunosuppressive nature of ovarian cancer.
Project description:Overexpression of the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) defines a subgroup of breast tumors with aggressive behavior. The addition of HER2-targeted antibodies (i.e., trastuzumab, pertuzumab) to chemotherapy significantly improves relapse-free and overall survival in patients with early-stage and advanced disease. Nonetheless, considerable proportions of patients develop resistance to treatment, highlighting the need for additional and co-adjuvant therapeutic strategies. HER2-specific antibodies can trigger natural killer (NK) cell-mediated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity and indirectly enhance the development of tumor-specific T cell immunity; both mechanisms contributing to their antitumor efficacy in preclinical models. Antibody-dependent NK cell activation results in the release of cytotoxic granules as well as the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines (i.e., IFN? and TNF?) and chemokines. Hence, NK cell tumor suppressive functions include direct cytolytic killing of tumor cells as well as the regulation of subsequent antitumor adaptive immunity. Albeit tumors with gene expression signatures associated to the presence of cytotoxic lymphocyte infiltrates benefit from trastuzumab-based treatment, NK cell-related biomarkers of response/resistance to HER2-specific therapeutic antibodies in breast cancer patients remain elusive. Several variables, including (i) the configuration of the patient NK cell repertoire; (ii) tumor molecular features (i.e., estrogen receptor expression); (iii) concomitant therapeutic regimens (i.e., chemotherapeutic agents, tyrosine kinase inhibitors); and (iv) evasion mechanisms developed by progressive breast tumors, have been shown to quantitatively and qualitatively influence antibody-triggered NK cell responses. In this review, we discuss possible interventions for restoring/enhancing the therapeutic activity of HER2 therapeutic antibodies by harnessing NK cell antitumor potential through combinatorial approaches, including immune checkpoint blocking/stimulatory antibodies, cytokines and toll-like receptor agonists.
Project description:Recent clinical data indicate a synergistic therapeutic effect between trastuzumab and taxanes in neoadjuvantly treated HER2-positive breast cancer (BC) patients. In HER2+ BC experimental models and patients, we investigated whether this synergy depends on the ability of drug-induced stress to improve NK cell effectiveness and thus trastuzumab-mediated ADCC. HER2+ BC cell lines BT474 and MDAMB361 treated with docetaxel showed up-modulation of NK activator ligands both in vitro and in vivo, accompanied by a 15-40% increase in in vitro trastuzumab-mediated ADCC; antibodies blocking the NKG2D receptor significantly reduced this enhancement. NKG2D receptor expression was increased by docetaxel treatment in circulating and splenic NK cells from mice xenografted with tumor cells, an increase related to expansion of the CD11b+Ly6G+ cell population. Accordingly, NK cells derived from HER2+ BC patients after treatment with taxane-containing therapy expressed higher levels of NKG2D receptor than before treatment. Moreover, plasma obtained from these patients recapitulated the modulation of NKG2D on healthy donors' NK cells, improving their trastuzumab-mediated activity in vitro. This enhancement occurred mainly using plasma from patients with low NKG2D basal expression. Our results indicate that taxanes increase tumor susceptibility to ADCC by acting on tumor and NK cells, and suggest that taxanes concomitantly administered with trastuzumab could maximize the antibody effect, especially in patients with low basal immune effector cytotoxic activity.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Autotransplantation of frozen-thawed ovarian tissue is a method to preserve ovarian function and fertility in patients undergoing gonadotoxic therapy. In oncology patients, the safety cannot yet be guaranteed, since current tumor detection methods can only exclude the presence of malignant cells in ovarian fragments that are not transplanted. We determined the need for a novel detection method by studying the distribution of tumor cells in ovaries from patients with breast cancer. Furthermore, we examined which cell-surface proteins are suitable as a target for non-invasive tumor-specific imaging of ovarian metastases from invasive breast cancer.<h4>Methods</h4>Using the nationwide database of the Dutch Pathology Registry (PALGA), we identified a cohort of 46 women with primary invasive breast cancer and ovarian metastases. The localization and morphology of ovarian metastases were determined on hematoxylin-and-eosin-stained sections. The following cell-surface markers were immunohistochemically analyzed: E-cadherin, epithelial membrane antigen (EMA), human epidermal growth receptor type 2 (Her2/neu), carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), ?v?6 integrin and epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM).<h4>Results</h4>The majority of ovarian metastases (71%) consisted of a solitary metastasis or multiple distinct nodules separated by uninvolved ovarian tissue, suggesting that ovarian metastases might be overlooked by the current detection approach. Combining the targets E-cadherin, EMA and Her2/neu resulted in nearly 100% detection of ductal ovarian metastases, whereas the combination of EMA, Her2/neu and EpCAM was most suitable to detect lobular ovarian metastases.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Examination of the actual ovarian transplants is recommended. A combination of targets is most appropriate to detect ovarian metastases by tumor-specific imaging.
Project description:Natural killer (NK) cells are innate cytotoxic and immunoregulatory lymphocytes that have a central role in anti-tumor immunity and play a critical role in mediating cellular immunity in advanced cancer immunotherapies, such as dendritic cell (DC) vaccines. Our group recently tested a novel recombinant adenovirus-transduced autologous DC-based vaccine that simultaneously induces T cell responses against three melanoma-associated antigens for advanced melanoma patients. Here, we examine the impact of this vaccine as well as the subsequent systemic delivery of high-dose interferon-?2b (HDI) on the circulatory NK cell profile in melanoma patients. At baseline, patient NK cells, particularly those isolated from high-risk patients with no measurable disease, showed altered distribution of CD56dim CD16+ and CD56dim CD16- NK cell subsets, as well as elevated serum levels of immune suppressive MICA, TN5E/CD73 and tactile/CD96, and perforin. Surprisingly, patient NK cells displayed a higher level of activation than those from healthy donors as measured by elevated CD69, NKp44 and CCR7 levels, and enhanced K562 killing. Elevated cytolytic ability strongly correlated with increased representation of CD56dim CD16+ NK cells and amplified CD69 expression on CD56dim CD16+ NK cells. While intradermal DC immunizations did not significantly impact circulatory NK cell activation and distribution profiles, subsequent HDI injections enhanced CD56bright CD16- NK cell numbers when compared to patients that did not receive HDI. Phenotypic analysis of tumor-infiltrating NK cells showed that CD56dim CD16- NK cells are the dominant subset in melanoma tumors. NanoString transcriptomic analysis of melanomas resected at baseline indicated that there was a trend of increased CD56dim NK cell gene signature expression in patients with better clinical response. These data indicate that melanoma patient blood NK cells display elevated activation levels, that intra-dermal DC immunizations did not effectively promote systemic NK cell responses, that systemic HDI administration can modulate NK cell subset distributions and suggest that CD56dim CD16- NK cells are a unique non-cytolytic subset in melanoma patients that may associate with better patient outcome.
Project description:We improved the bispecific antibody platform that primarily engages natural killer (NK) cells to kill cancer cells through antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) by adding IL-15 as a crosslinker that expands and self-sustains the effector NK cell population. The overall goal was to target B7-H3, an established marker predominantly expressed on cancer cells and minimally expressed on normal cells, and prove that it could target cancer cells in vitro and inhibit tumor growth in vivo. The tri-specific killer engager (TriKETM) was assembled by DNA shuffling and ligation using DNA encoding a camelid anti-CD16 antibody fragment, a wild-type IL-15 moiety, and an anti-B7-H3 scFv (clone 376.96). The expressed and purified cam1615B7H3 protein was tested for in vitro NK cell activity against a variety of tumors and in vivo against a tagged human MA-148 ovarian cancer cell line grafted in NSG mice. cam1615B7H3 showed specific NK cell expansion, high killing activity across a range of B7-H3+ carcinomas, and the ability to mediate growth inhibition of aggressive ovarian cancer in vivo. cam1615B7H3 TriKE improves NK cell function, expansion, targeted cytotoxicity against various types of B7-H3-positive human cancer cell lines, and delivers an anti-cancer effect in vivo in a solid tumor setting.