Targeting HER2/neu with a fully human IgE to harness the allergic reaction against cancer cells
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Breast and ovarian cancer are two of the leading causes of cancer deaths among women in the United States. Overexpression of the HER2/neu oncoprotein has been reported in patients affected with breast and ovarian cancers, and is associated with poor prognosis. To develop a novel targeted therapy for HER2/neu expressing tumors, we have constructed a fully human IgE with the variable regions of the scFv C6MH3-B1 specific for HER2/neu. This antibody was expressed in murine myeloma cells and was properly assembled and secreted. The Fc region of this antibody triggers in vitro degranulation of rat basophilic cells expressing human FcεRI (RBL SX-38) in the presence of murine mammary carcinoma cells that express human HER2/neu (D2F2/E2), but not the shed (soluble) antigen (ECDHER2) alone. This IgE is also capable of inducing passive cutaneous anaphylaxis in a human FcεRIα transgenic mouse model, in the presence of a cross-linking antibody, but not in the presence of soluble ECDHER2. Additionally, IgE enhances antigen presentation in human dendritic cells and facilitates cross-priming, suggesting that the antibody is able to stimulate a secondary T-cell anti-tumor response. Furthermore, we show that this IgE significantly prolongs survival of human FcεRIα transgenic mice bearing D2F2/E2 tumors. We also report that the anti-HER2/neu IgE is well tolerated in a preliminary study conducted in Macaca fascicularis (cynomolgus) monkeys. In summary, our results suggest that this IgE should be further explored as a potential therapeutic against HER2/neu overexpressing tumors, such as breast and ovarian cancers.