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      Suppression of c-Met-Overexpressing Tumors by a Novel c-Met/CD3 Bispecific Antibody

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          Abstract

          Introduction

          Overexpression of c-Met, or hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) receptor, is commonly observed in tumor biopsies and often associated with poor patient survival, which makes HGF/c-Met pathway an attractive molecular target for cancer therapy. A number of antibody-based therapeutic strategies have been explored to block c-Met or HGF in cancers; however, clinical efficacy has been very limited, indicating that blockade of c-Met signal alone is not sufficient. Thus, an alternative approach is to develop an immunotherapy strategy for c-Met-overexpressing cancers. c-Met/CD3 bispecific antibody (BsAb) could bridge CD3-positive T lymphocytes and tumor cells to result in potent tumor cell killing.

          Materials and Methods

          A bispecific antibody, BS001, which binds both c-Met and CD3, was generated using a novel BsAb platform. Western blotting and T cells-mediated killing assays were utilized to evaluate the BsAb’s effects on cell proliferation, survival and signal transduction in tumor cells. Subcutaneous tumor mouse models were used to analyze the in vivo anti-tumor effects of the bispecific antibody and its combination therapy with PD-L1 antibody.

          Results

          BS001 showed potent T-cell mediated tumor cells killing in vitro. Furthermore, BS001 inhibited phosphorylation of c-Met and downstream signal transduction in tumor cells. In A549 lung cancer xenograft model, BS001 inhibited tumor growth and increased the proportion of activated CD56 + tumor infiltrating lymphocytes. In vivo combination therapy of BS001 with Atezolizumab (an anti-programmed cell death protein1-ligand (PD-L1) antibody) showed more potent tumor inhibition than monotherapies. Similarly, in SKOV3 xenograft model, BS001 showed a significant efficacy in tumor growth inhibition and tumor recurrence was not observed in more than half of mice treated with a combination of BS001 and Pembrolizumab.

          Conclusion

          c-Met/CD3 bispecific antibody BS001 exhibited potent anti-tumor activities in vitro and in vivo, which was achieved through two distinguished mechanisms: through antibody-mediated tumor cell killing by T cells and through inhibition of c-Met signal transduction.

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          Most cited references 28

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          IFN-γ from lymphocytes induces PD-L1 expression and promotes progression of ovarian cancer

          Background: PD-L1 (programmed cell death 1 ligand 1) on tumour cells suppresses host immunity through binding to its receptor PD-1 on lymphocytes, and promotes peritoneal dissemination in mouse models of ovarian cancer. However, how PD-L1 expression is regulated in ovarian cancer microenvironment remains unclear. Methods: The number of CD8-positive lymphocytes and PD-L1 expression in tumour cells was assessed in ovarian cancer clinical samples. PD-L1 expression and tumour progression in mouse models under conditions of altering IFN-γ signals was assessed. Results: The number of CD8-positive cells in cancer stroma was very high in peritoneally disseminated tumours, and was strongly correlated to PD-L1 expression on the tumour cells (P<0.001). In mouse models, depleting IFNGR1 (interferon-γ receptor 1) resulted in lower level of PD-L1 expression in tumour cells, increased the number of tumour-infiltrating CD8-positive lymphocytes, inhibition of peritoneal disseminated tumour growth and longer survival (P=0.02). The injection of IFN-γ into subcutaneous tumours induced PD-L1 expression and promoted tumour growth, and PD-L1 depletion completely abrogated tumour growth caused by IFN-γ injection (P=0.01). Conclusions: Interferon-γ secreted by CD8-positive lymphocytes upregulates PD-L1 on ovarian cancer cells and promotes tumour growth. The lymphocyte infiltration and the IFN-γ status may be the key to effective anti-PD-1 or anti-PD-L1 therapy in ovarian cancer.
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            Randomized Phase II Trial of Onartuzumab in Combination With Erlotinib in Patients With Advanced Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer

            Increased hepatocyte growth factor/MET signaling is associated with poor prognosis and acquired resistance to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) –targeted drugs in patients with non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We investigated whether dual inhibition of MET/EGFR results in clinical benefit in patients with NSCLC. Patients with recurrent NSCLC were randomly assigned at a ratio of one to one to receive onartuzumab plus erlotinib or placebo plus erlotinib; crossover was allowed at progression. Tumor tissue was required to assess MET status by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Coprimary end points were progression-free survival (PFS) in the intent-to-treat (ITT) and MET-positive (MET IHC diagnostic positive) populations; additional end points included overall survival (OS), objective response rate, and safety. There was no improvement in PFS or OS in the ITT population (n = 137; PFS hazard ratio [HR], 1.09; P = .69; OS HR, 0.80; P = .34). MET-positive patients (n = 66) treated with erlotinib plus onartuzumab showed improvement in both PFS (HR, .53; P = .04) and OS (HR, .37; P = .002). Conversely, clinical outcomes were worse in MET-negative patients treated with onartuzumab plus erlotinib (n = 62; PFS HR, 1.82; P = .05; OS HR, 1.78; P = .16). MET-positive control patients had worse outcomes versus MET-negative control patients (n = 62; PFS HR, 1.71; P = .06; OS HR, 2.61; P = .004). Incidence of peripheral edema was increased in onartuzumab-treated patients. Onartuzumab plus erlotinib was associated with improved PFS and OS in the MET-positive population. These results combined with the worse outcomes observed in MET-negative patients treated with onartuzumab highlight the importance of diagnostic testing in drug development.
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              Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) stimulates the tyrosine kinase activity of the receptor encoded by the proto-oncogene c-MET.

              The human proto-oncogene c-MET encodes a heterodimeric 190 kDa transmembrane protein (p190c-met) with structural features of a tyrosine kinase receptor. The ligand for this putative receptor has not yet been identified. By Northern blot hybridization we found that, among a restricted number of human tissues, c-MET is highly expressed in the liver. This prompted us to test the hypothesis of a functional interaction between the c-MET receptor and Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF), a heparin-binding polypeptide consisting of heavy and light chains of 65 and 35 kDa. Nanomolar concentrations of highly purified HGF added to GTL-16 cells, which overexpress the c-MET receptor, enhanced the phosphorylation on tyrosine of the p190c-met kinase. Addition of other known growth factors or serum was ineffective. The kinase activity of the c-MET receptor was also stimulated by HGF in an in vitro assay, after detergent solubilization and partial purification of p190c-met. Moreover, elution of immunoprecipitates obtained with anti-MET antibodies from GTL-16 cell lysates yielded an HGF-responsive kinase activity. These results suggest that HGF, or a growth factor structurally related to HGF, is a candidate ligand for the receptor encoded by c-MET.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                dddt
                dddt
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove
                1177-8881
                07 August 2020
                2020
                : 14
                : 3201-3214
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Laboratory of Molecular Medicine, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Signaling and Disease Research, School of Life Sciences and Technology, Tongji University , Shanghai 200092, People’s Republic of China
                [2 ]Department of Neurology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji University , Shanghai, People’s Republic of China
                [3 ]Biomedical Research Center, Tongji University Suzhou Institute , Suzhou, Jiangsu, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Hua Gu Tel +86-21-6598-2867 Email gu_hua@tongji.edu.cn
                Jianmin Fang Tel +86-21-6598-2878 Email jfang@tongji.edu.cn
                Article
                254117
                10.2147/DDDT.S254117
                7495354
                © 2020 Huang et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                Page count
                Figures: 6, References: 46, Pages: 14
                Categories
                Original Research

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