Block‑Removed Immunoglobulin Technology to enhance rituximab effector function by counteracting CA125‑mediated immunosuppression
- Luigi Grasso
- James Bradford Kline
- Nicholas C. Nicolaides
Affiliations: Navrogen Inc., Cheyney, PA 19319, USA
- Published online on: November 2, 2021 https://doi.org/10.3892/ol.2021.13120
Copyright: © Grasso
et al. This is an open access article distributed under the
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Commons Attribution License.
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Rituximab (RTX) is a CD20‑targeting antibody that is the standard‑of‑care for patients with non‑Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) cases. RTX's mechanism of action includes complement‑dependent cytotoxicity (CDC) and antibody‑dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). Recent clinical evidence suggests that high serum levels of the tumor‑produced mucin 16 (MUC16) and cancer antigen 125 (CA125) have a negative impact on the effectiveness of RTX clinical activity in up to 40% of patients with follicular lymphoma. The present study sought to understand the possible mechanism underlying these results; therefore, cellular and molecular analyses of RTX and CA125 interaction were peformed, and a library of RTX variants was generated using a proprietary technology called Block‑Removed Immunoglobulin Technology that combines randomized amino acid substitutions and high‑throughput functional screenings to identify CA125‑refractory RTX variants. The present study demonstrated that CA125 could bind to RTX and reduce its tumor cell killing activity. Furthermore, the study characterized an RTX variant, named NAV‑006 (RTX‑N109D), which was more refractory to the immunosuppressive effects mediated by CA125 as evidenced by its reduced CA125 interaction and increased activity of ADCC and CDC when compared with parent RTX. Taken together, these findings warranted further investigation on NAV‑006 as a next generation anti‑CD20 antibody that could improve the efficacy of parent RTX in NHL patients with high levels of CA125.