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Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy

, Volume 52, Issue 6, pp 367–377 | Cite as

A new small cell lung cancer (SCLC)-specific marker discovered through antigenic subtraction of neuroblastoma cells

  • Pamela Krueger
  • Christina Nitz
  • Randi Foster
  • Colleen MacDonald
  • Oren Gelber
  • Guita Lalehzadeh
  • Robert Goodson
  • Jill Winter
  • Cohava Gelber
Original Article
  • 180 Downloads

Abstract

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is an aggressive form of lung cancer associated with cigarette smoking and presently accounts for approximately 20% of all lung cancer cases. SCLC cells derive from a neuroendocrine origin and therefore their antigenic profile coincides, to a great extent, with that of neuroendocrine cells. Multiple attempts to generate SCLC-specific MoAbs during the past decade have failed because all SCLC-specific MoAbs isolated also react against neuroendocrine tissues or normal immune cells. Cross-reactivity with normal antigens raises safety concerns due to the inevitable toxicity of such interactions and the dreaded effects. The concept of DIAAD™ (Differential Immunization for Antigen and Antibody Discovery) provides for an immune response that can be effectively focused on cancer antigens. The object is to overcome obstacles resulting from an antigenic hierarchical pattern biased towards a response to dominant antigens in order to induce a robust immune response to cancer antigens. Cancer antigens are weak or nonimmunogenic molecules. Due to the fact that the immune system responds more strongly to immunodominant antigens than to weak immunogenic antigens, cancer cell proliferation is unencumbered. DIAAD employs protocols of induction of tolerance and immunity, conducted in sequential order to "biologically subtract" the immune response of dominant antigens expressed by normal cells. This biological subtraction is achieved in a laboratory animal by first eliminating the immune response to the normal cells or closely related cancer cells, followed by immunization of the same laboratory animal with diseased cells. This procedure directs the immune response exclusively towards antigens expressed by the diseased and not the normal cells. Our objective was to use DIAAD to generate monoclonal antibodies specific to SCLC antigens that are not shared by neuroendocrine cells by contrasting a pool of human SCLC cell lines with a pool of human neuroendocrine cancer cell lines. Four monoclonal antibodies reacted strongly and exclusively with SCLC cells and identified a membrane molecule comprising a single chain glycoprotein. Two of four antibodies were selected for a detailed analysis that revealed a narrow tissue specificity of antigen expressed by colon, lung, and pancreatic cancers (less than 20% staining was found on breast, ovarian and prostate cancer). These antibodies did not bind to various other cancers such as kidney, carcinoid, lymphoma, sarcoma, adrenal, liver, melanoma, seminoma, leiomyoma, basal cell cancer, or undifferentiated cancer. The epitope recognized by the selected MoAbs was destroyed with the removal of carbohydrates from SCLC cells. This result does not exclude the possibility of protein–carbohydrate cooperation in epitope recognition. However, it strongly suggests the pivotal role of carbohydrates in antibody binding to this molecule. Upon binding to the extracellular molecule on SCLC cells, the antibodies were shown to internalize. A low or insignificant level of internalization was recorded following incubation of the antibodies with neuroendocrine-derived tumors. The capacity of these antibodies to internalize upon binding the extracellular receptors renders them potential candidates for prodrug or immunotoxin-targeted therapeutics. In a qualitative experiment involving immunoaffinity purification, the SCLC antigen was shown to be differentially detected in sera of SCLC patients. Plans are being generated to explore the possible utility of this novel SCLC-specific antigen recognized by the above MoAbs as a new biomarker for early diagnosis of the disease, as well as for therapeutic intervention for SCLC.

Keywords

Tolerance Subtractive immunization MoAbs Cancer antigens SCLC (small cell lung cancer) 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pamela Krueger
    • 1
  • Christina Nitz
    • 1
  • Randi Foster
    • 1
  • Colleen MacDonald
    • 1
  • Oren Gelber
    • 1
  • Guita Lalehzadeh
    • 2
  • Robert Goodson
    • 2
  • Jill Winter
    • 2
  • Cohava Gelber
    • 1
  1. 1.Molecular DiscoveriesLLCNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Chiron CorporationUSA

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