Engineered thio-trastuzumab-DM1 conjugate with an improved therapeutic index to target human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive breast cancer.

Abstract

PURPOSE Antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) combine the ideal properties of both antibodies and cytotoxic drugs by targeting potent drugs to the antigen-expressing tumor cells, thereby enhancing their antitumor activity. Successful ADC development for a given target antigen depends on optimization of antibody selection, linker stability, cytotoxic drug potency, and mode of linker-drug conjugation to the antibody. Here, we systematically examined the in vitro potency as well as in vivo preclinical efficacy and safety profiles of a heterogeneous preparation of conventional trastuzumab-mcc-DM1 (TMAb-mcc-DM1) ADC with that of a homogeneous engineered thio-trastuzumab-mpeo-DM1 (thioTMAb-mpeo-DM1) conjugate. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN AND RESULTS To generate thioTMAb-mpeo-DM1, one drug maytansinoid 1 (DM1) molecule was conjugated to an engineered cysteine residue at Ala114 (Kabat numbering) on each trastuzumab-heavy chain, resulting in two DM1 molecules per antibody. ThioTMAb-mpeo-DM1 retained similar in vitro anti-cell proliferation activity and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) binding properties to that of the conventional ADC. Furthermore, it showed improved efficacy over the conventional ADC at DM1-equivalent doses (μg/m(2)) and retained efficacy at equivalent antibody doses (mg/kg). An improved safety profile of >2-fold was observed in a short-term target-independent rat safety study. In cynomolgus monkey safety studies, thioTMAb-mpeo-DM1 was tolerated at higher antibody doses (up to 48 mg/kg or 6,000 μg DM1/m(2)) compared with the conventional ADC that had dose-limiting toxicity at 30 mg/kg (6,000 μg DM1/m(2)). CONCLUSIONS The engineered thioTMAb-mpeo-DM1 with broadened therapeutic index represents a promising antibody drug conjugate for future clinical development of HER2-positive targeted breast cancer therapies.

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