Pretargeting for cancer radioimmunotherapy with bispecific antibodies: role of the bispecific antibody's valency for the tumor target antigen

Bioconjug Chem. Sep-Oct 2002;13(5):1054-70. doi: 10.1021/bc0200172.


The use of a divalent effector molecule improves bispecific antibody (bsMAb) pretargeting by enabling the cross-linking of monovalently bound bsMAb on the cell surface, thereby increasing the functional affinity of a bsMAb. In this work, it was determined if a bsMAb with divalency for the primary target antigen would improve bsMAb pretargeting of a divalent hapten. The pretargeting of a (99m)Tc-labeled divalent DTPA-peptide, IMP-192, using a bsMAb prepared by chemically coupling two Fab' fragments, one with monovalent specificity to the primary target antigen, carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), and to indium-loaded DTPA [DTPA(In)], was compared to two other bsMAbs, both with divalency to CEA. One conjugate used the whole anti-CEA IgG, while the other used the anti-CEA F(ab')(2) fragment to make bsMAbs that had divalency to CEA, but with different molecular weights to affect their pharmacokinetic behavior. The rate of bsMAb blood clearance was a function of molecular weight (IgG x Fab' < F(ab')(2) x Fab' < Fab' x Fab' conjugate). The IgG x Fab' bsMAb conjugate had the highest uptake and longest retention in the tumor. However, when used for pretargeting, the F(ab')(2) x Fab' conjugate allowed for superior tumor accretion of the (99m)Tc-IMP-192 peptide, because its more rapid clearance from the blood enabled early intervention with the radiolabeled peptide when tumor uptake of the bsMAb was at its peak. Excellent peptide targeting was also seen with the Fab' x Fab' conjugate, albeit tumor uptake was lower than with the F(ab')(2) x Fab' conjugate. Because the IgG x Fab' bsMAb cleared from the blood so slowly, when the peptide was given at the time of its maximum tumor accretion, the peptide was captured predominantly by the bsMAb in the blood. Several strategies were explored to reduce the IgG x Fab' bsMAb remaining in the blood to take advantage of its 3-4-fold higher tumor accretion than the other bsMAb conjugates. A number of agents were tested, including those that could clear the bsMAb from the blood (e.g., galactosylated or nongalactosylated anti-id antibody) and those that could block the anti-DTPA(In) binding arm [e.g., DTPA(In), divalent-DTPA(In) peptide, and DTPA coupled to bovine serum albumin (BSA) or IgG]. When clearing agents were given 65 h after the IgG x Fab' conjugate (time of maximum tumor accretion for this bsMAb), (99m)Tc-IMP-192 levels in the blood were significantly reduced, but a majority of the peptide localized in the liver. Increasing the interval between the clearing agent and the time the peptide was given to allow for further processing of the bsMAb-clearing agent complex did not improve targeting. At the dose and level of substitution tested, galacosylated BSA-DTPA(In) was cleared too quickly to be an effective blocking agent, but BSA- and IgG-DTPA(In) conjugates were able to reduce the uptake of the (99m)Tc-IMP-192 in the blood and liver. Tumor/nontumor ratios compared favorably for the radiolabeled peptide using the IgG x Fab'/blocking agent combination and the F(ab')(2) x Fab' (no clearing/blocking agent), and peptide uptake 3 h after the blocking agent even exceeded that of the F(ab')(2) x Fab'. However, this higher level of peptide in the tumor was not sustained over 24 h, and actually decreased to levels lower than that seen with the F(ab')(2) x Fab' by this time. These results demonstrate that divalency of a bsMAb to its primary target antigen can lead to higher tumor accretion by a pretargeted divalent peptide, but that the pharmacokinetic behavior of the bsMAb also needs to be optimized to allow for its clearance from the blood. Otherwise, blocking agents will need to be developed to reduce unwanted peptide uptake in normal tissues.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bispecific / administration & dosage
  • Antibodies, Bispecific / chemistry
  • Antibodies, Bispecific / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Blocking
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm / administration & dosage
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm / chemistry
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm / therapeutic use
  • Antibody Affinity
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology*
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen / immunology
  • Haptens
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / radiotherapy
  • Radioimmunotherapy / methods*
  • Technetium / therapeutic use
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Transplantation, Heterologous


  • Antibodies, Bispecific
  • Antibodies, Blocking
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen
  • Haptens
  • Technetium