Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy

, Volume 56, Issue 7, pp 1107–1117 | Cite as

CD20-specific antibody-targeted chemotherapy of non-Hodgkin’s B-cell lymphoma using calicheamicin-conjugated rituximab

  • John F. DiJoseph
  • Maureen M. Dougher
  • Douglas C. Armellino
  • Lyka Kalyandrug
  • Arthur Kunz
  • Erwin R. Boghaert
  • Philip R. Hamann
  • Nitin K. DamleEmail author
Original Article


Tumor-targeted delivery of a potent cytotoxic agent, calicheamicin, using its immunoconjugates is a clinically validated therapeutic strategy. Rituximab is a human CD20-specific chimeric antibody extensively used in B-NHL therapy. We investigated whether conjugation to calicheamicin can improve the anti-tumor activity of rituximab against human B-cell lymphoma (BCL) xenografts in preclinical models. BCL cells were cultured with rituximab or its calicheamicin conjugates and their in vitro growth was monitored. BCL cells were injected s.c. to establish localized xenografts in nude mice or i.v. to establish disseminated BCL in severe combined immunodeficient (scid) mice. I.p. treatment with rituximab or its calicheamicin conjugates was initiated and its effect on s.c. BCL growth or survival of mice with disseminated BCL was monitored. Conjugation of calicheamicin to rituximab vastly enhanced its growth inhibitory activity against BCL in vitro. Conjugation to calicheamicin had no deleterious effect on the effector functional activity of rituximab. Calicheamicin conjugated to rituximab with an acid-labile linker exhibited greater anti-tumor activity against s.c. BCL xenografts and improved survival of mice with disseminated BCL over that of unconjugated rituximab. Anti-tumor activities of rituximab conjugated to calicheamicin via an acid-stable linker were similar to that of unconjugated rituximab. Superior anti-tumor efficacy exhibited by a calicheamicin immunoconjugate of rituximab with an acid-labile linker over that of rituximab demonstrates the therapeutic potential of CD20-specific antibody-targeted chemotherapy strategy in the treatment of B-NHL.


Calicheamicin Rituximab CD20 Immunoconjugates Anti-tumor 



B-cell lymphoma


N-Acetyl gamma calicheamicin dimethyl derivative(s)


CalichDM hydrazide



We thank Fred Immermann of Wyeth Biometrics Research for statistical analysis of the data.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • John F. DiJoseph
    • 1
  • Maureen M. Dougher
    • 1
  • Douglas C. Armellino
    • 1
  • Lyka Kalyandrug
    • 1
  • Arthur Kunz
    • 2
  • Erwin R. Boghaert
    • 1
  • Philip R. Hamann
    • 2
  • Nitin K. Damle
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Oncology DiscoveryWyeth ResearchPearl RiverUSA
  2. 2.Chemical and Screening SciencesWyeth ResearchPearl RiverUSA

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