Two new trifunctional antibodies for the therapy of human malignant melanoma



Trifunctional antibodies are able to redirect T cells and Fcγ receptor+ accessory immune cells to tumor targets. The simultaneous activation of these different classes of effector cells results in efficient killing of the tumor cells by different mechanisms such as phagocytosis and perforin-mediated cytotoxicity. Here, we introduce 2 new trifunctional antibodies specific for human melanoma. These trifunctional antibodies recognize with one binding arm CD3 on human T cells. The other binding arm is directed against melanoma-associated proteoglycans or melanoma-associated gangliosides (GD2 as well as GD3). They mediate specific lysis of various melanoma cell lines in correlation with the level of antigen expression in short-term cytotoxicity experiments. A combination of the 2 trifunctional antibodies was equally or even more efficient. Moreover, they induced a strong Th1 cytokine pattern with high amounts of IFN-γ and low or no IL-4. Accordingly, CD4+ and especially CD8+ T cells expanded, whereas B cells, NK cells and monocytes decreased. The cytokine response was up to 16-fold higher when tumor cells were present. IFN-γ reached cytotoxic concentrations for SK-MEL-23 melanoma cells. The induction of a T-cell-activatory and melanoma cell-inhibitory cytokine milieu together with the redirection of T-cell- and accessory cell-mediated cytotoxicity are interesting features of these trifunctional antibodies. They may be a new option for the therapy of human malignant melanoma. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.