Monoclonal antibody therapy of cancer

Semin Oncol. 1999 Oct;26(5 Suppl 14):43-51.


Monoclonal antibody therapy is beginning to realize its promise. Efficacy has been seen in clinical trials using antibodies that target tumor cell surface antigens such as B-cell idiotypes, CD20 on malignant B cells, CD33 on leukemic blasts, and HER2/neu on breast cancer. Unconjugated immunoglobulins directed against CD20 induce partial and complete responses in up to 50% of patients with advanced, indolent non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. When such antibodies are conjugated to radionuclides, complete and overall response rates increase. Conjugates composed of anti-CD33 antibodies and the chemotherapy agent, calicheamicin, show promising activity in patients with relapsed or refractory acute myelogenous leukemia Treatment of patients with advanced breast cancer using the anti-HER2/neu antibody, trastuzumab (Herceptin; Genentech, San Francisco, CA) leads to objective responses in some patients with overexpression of the HER2/neu oncoprotein. These exciting results provide a basis for further refinement of the existing approaches to develop new antibody-based cancer therapy strategies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cancer Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunoconjugates / therapeutic use
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Immunotoxins / therapeutic use
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Protein Binding


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Immunoconjugates
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Immunotoxins