Monoclonal antibody drug immunoconjugates for targeted treatment of cancer

Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2003 May;52(5):328-37. doi: 10.1007/s00262-002-0352-9. Epub 2003 Jan 16.


Monoclonal antibodies (mAb) directed to tumor-associated antigens (TAA) or antigens differentially expressed on the tumor vasculature have been covalently linked to drugs that have different mechanisms of action and various levels of potency. The use of these mAb immunoconjugates to selectively deliver drugs to tumors has the potential to both improve antitumor efficacy and reduce the systemic toxicity of therapy. Several immunoconjugates, particularly those that incorporate internalizing antibodies and tumor-selective linkers, have demonstrated impressive activity in preclinical models. Immunoconjugates that deliver doxorubicin, maytansine and calicheamicin are currently being evaluated in clinical trials. The feasibility of using immunoconjugates as cancer therapeutics has been clearly demonstrated. Gemtuzumab ozogamicin, a calicheamicin conjugate that targets CD33, has recently been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). This review concentrates on the properties of the tumor and the characteristics of the mAb, linker, and drugs that influence the efficacy, potency, and selectivity of immunconjugates selected for cancer treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aminoglycosides*
  • Anthracyclines / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Gemtuzumab
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Immunotoxins / therapeutic use
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Aminoglycosides
  • Anthracyclines
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Immunotoxins
  • Gemtuzumab