NKG2D ligands link the innate and adapative immune response by activating the receptors expressed on effector cells of both the innate (NK) and adaptive immune systems (CD8+ T cells). In this study, we explored the potential therapeutic utility of this intersection by fusing the murine NKG2D ligand Rae-1β to the 3′ end of an anti-HER2 IgG3 antibody containing an intact Fc domain (anti-HER2 IgG3-Rae-1β), thereby targeting an NK cell activation signal to HER2+ breast tumor cells. The antitumor efficacy of this anti-HER2-Rae-1β fusion protein was examined in a mouse mammary tumor model engineered to express HER2 (EMT6-HER2 cells). We observed an enhanced cytotoxic response of NK effectors against EMT-HER2 cells in vitro. Mice implanted on one flank with EMT6-HER2 cells and contralaterally with control EMT6 cells exhibited rapid regression of EMT6-HER2 tumors but delayed regression of contralateral EMT6 tumors. IFNγ was implicated, given a lack of antitumor efficacy in IFNγ-/- mice. Depletion of either NK cells or CD8+ T cells abrogated tumor growth inhibition, suggesting essential roles for each in the observed antitumor activity. Mice rejecting EMT6-HER2 tumors after anti-HER2-Rae-1β treatment showed markedly decreased tumor growth when rechallenged with EMT6-HER2 or EMT6 cells, whereas both EMT6 and EMT6-HER2 cells grew in control mice, indicating the development of an adaptive memory response. Our findings demonstrate that administration of an antibody-NKG2D ligand fusion protein can enhance innate and adaptive immune antitumor responses, also evoking additional nontargeted antigens to enhance the potential clinical utility of this approach.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research