Expression of complement inhibitors CD46, CD55, and CD59 on tumor cells does not predict clinical outcome after rituximab treatment in follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Blood. 2001 Sep 1;98(5):1352-7. doi: 10.1182/blood.v98.5.1352.


Rituximab is a chimeric monoclonal antibody that targets B-cell-specific antigen CD20 and an effective treatment for B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Although it is readily used in clinical practice, the exact mechanism of its antitumor effect is unclear. One potential mechanism involves complement-mediated cytotoxicity. It has been shown that rituximab induces complement-mediated cytotoxicity in follicular lymphoma cells in vitro, and complement inhibitors CD55 and CD59 may regulate this process. To determine whether complement inhibitors play a role in regulating the antitumor effect of rituximab, the expression of complement inhibitors CD46, CD55, and CD59 was analyzed in pretreatment tumor cells from 29 rituximab-treated follicular lymphoma patients. Among them, 8 patients achieved complete responses, 11 patients achieved partial responses, and 10 patients showed no or minimal responses to rituximab treatment. Expression of surface CD20, CD46, CD55, and CD59 was determined by 2-color flow cytometry. Although the CD59 level was slightly lower in the complete response group, there was no statistically significant difference in the expression of individual complement inhibitor CD46 (mean channel fluorescence [MCF]: NR, 26.4; PR, 21.9; CR, 29.9), CD55 (MCF: NR, 16.4; PR, 14.9; CR, 23.2), or CD59 (MCF: NR, 41.6; PR, 40.6; CR, 30.6), the combination of any 2 inhibitors, or all 3 on tumor cells from 3 response groups. In addition, there was no difference in the rituximab-induced complement-mediated cytotoxicity in an in vitro assay using tumor cells from 3 response groups. Thus, CD46, CD55, and CD59 expression on pretreatment tumor cells, or their susceptibility to in vitro complement-mediated killing, does not predict clinical outcome after rituximab treatment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Antibody-Dependent Cell Cytotoxicity
  • Antigens, CD / analysis*
  • Antigens, CD / immunology
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / analysis*
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / physiology
  • CD55 Antigens / analysis*
  • CD55 Antigens / immunology
  • CD55 Antigens / physiology
  • CD59 Antigens / analysis*
  • CD59 Antigens / immunology
  • CD59 Antigens / physiology
  • Complement System Proteins / immunology
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Lymphoma, Follicular / immunology
  • Lymphoma, Follicular / metabolism
  • Lymphoma, Follicular / therapy*
  • Male
  • Membrane Cofactor Protein
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / analysis*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / immunology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / immunology
  • Rituximab
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • CD46 protein, human
  • CD55 Antigens
  • CD59 Antigens
  • Membrane Cofactor Protein
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Rituximab
  • Complement System Proteins