Ab-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) is usually considered an important mechanism of action for immunotherapy with human IgG1 but not IgG2 Abs. The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGF-R) Ab panitumumab represents the only human IgG2 Ab approved for immunotherapy and inhibition of EGF-R signaling has been described as its principal mechanism of action. In this study, we investigated effector mechanisms of panitumumab compared with zalutumumab, an EGF-R Ab of the human IgG1 isotype. Notably, panitumumab was as effective as zalutumumab in recruiting ADCC by myeloid effector cells (i.e., neutrophils and monocytes) in contrast to NK cell-mediated ADCC, which was only induced by the IgG1 Ab. Neutrophil-mediated tumor cell killing could be stimulated by myeloid growth factors and was triggered via FcγRIIa. Panitumumab-mediated ADCC was significantly affected by the functional FcγRIIa-R131H polymorphism and was induced more effectively by neutrophils from FcγRIIa-131H homozygous donors than from -131R individuals. This polymorphism did not affect neutrophil ADCC induced by the IgG1 Ab zalutumumab. The in vivo activity of both Abs was assessed in two animal models: a high-dose model, in which signaling inhibition is a dominant mechanism of action, and a low-dose model, in which effector cell recruitment plays a prominent role. Zalutumumab was more effective than panitumumab in the high-dose model, reflecting its stronger ability to induce EGF-R downmodulation and growth inhibition. In the low-dose model, zalutumumab and panitumumab similarly prevented tumor growth. Thus, our results identify myeloid cell-mediated ADCC as a potent and additional mechanism of action for EGF-R-directed immunotherapy.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)