Development of ABX-EGF, a fully human anti-EGF receptor monoclonal antibody, for cancer therapy

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2001 Apr;38(1):17-23. doi: 10.1016/s1040-8428(00)00134-7.


Overexpression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFr) has been demonstrated on many human tumors, and the increase in receptor expression levels has been linked with a poor clinical prognosis. Blocking the interaction of EGFr and the growth factors could lead to the arrest of tumor growth and possibly result in tumor cell death. To this end, using XenoMouse technology, ABX-EGF, a human IgG2 monoclonal antibody (mAb) specific to human EGFr, has been generated. ABX-EGF binds EGFr with high affinity (5x10(-11) M), blocks the binding of both EGF and transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha) to various EGFr-expressing human carcinoma cell lines, and inhibits EGF-dependent tumor cell activation, including EGFr tyrosine phosphorylation, increased extracellular acidification rate, and cell proliferation. In vivo ABX-EGF prevents completely the formation of human epidermoid carcinoma A431 xenografts in athymic mice. More importantly, administration of ABX-EGF without concomitant chemotherapy results in complete eradication of established tumors. No tumor recurrence was observed for more than 8 months following the last antibody injection, further indicating complete tumor cell elimination by the antibody. Inhibition of human pancreatic, renal, breast and prostate tumor xenografts which express different levels of EGFr by ABX-EGF was also achieved. Tumor expressing more than 17000 EGFr molecules per cell showed significant growth inhibition when treated with ABX-EGF. ABX-EGF had no effect on EGFr-negative tumors. The potency of ABX-EGF in eradicating well-established tumors without concomitant chemotherapy indicates its potential as a monotherapeutic agent for treatment of multiple EGFr-expressing human solid tumors, including those where no effective chemotherapy is available. Utilization of mAbs directed to growth factor receptors as cancer therapeutics has been validated recently by the tumor responses obtained from clinical trials with Herceptin, the humanized anti-HER2 antibody, in patients with HER2 overexpressing metastatic breast cancer. Being a fully human antibody, ABX-EGF is anticipated to exhibit a long serum half-life and minimal immunogenicity with repeated administration, even in immunocompetent patients. These results demonstrate the potent anti-tumor activity of ABX-EGF and its therapeutic potential for the treatment of multiple human solid tumors that overexpress EGFr.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Heterophile / biosynthesis
  • Antibodies, Heterophile / genetics
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / biosynthesis
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / genetics
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Panitumumab


  • Antibodies, Heterophile
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • Panitumumab