Non-fucosylated therapeutic antibodies as next-generation therapeutic antibodies

Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2006 Nov;6(11):1161-73. doi: 10.1517/14712598.6.11.1161.


Most of the existing therapeutic antibodies that have been licensed and developed as medical agents are of the human IgG1 isotype, the molecular weight of which is approximately 150 kDa. Human IgG1 is a glycoprotein bearing two N-linked biantennary complex-type oligosaccharides bound to the antibody constant region (Fc), in which the majority of the oligosaccharides are core fucosylated, and it exercises the effector functions of antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and complement-dependent cytotoxicity through the interaction of the Fc with either leukocyte receptors (FcgammaRs) or complement. Recently, therapeutic antibodies have been shown to improve overall survival as well as time to disease progression in a variety of human malignancies, such as breast, colon and haematological cancers, and genetic analysis of FcgammaR polymorphisms of cancer patients has demonstrated that ADCC is a major antineoplasm mechanism responsible for clinical efficacy. However, the ADCC of existing licensed therapeutic antibodies has been found to be strongly inhibited by serum due to nonnpecific IgG competing for binding of the therapeutics to FcgammaRIIIa on natural killer cells, which leads to the requirement of a significant amount of drug and very high costs associated with such therapies. Moreover, enhanced ADCC of non-fucosylated forms of therapeutic antibodies through improved FcgammaRIIIa binding is shown to be inhibited by the fucosylated counterparts. In fact, non-fucosylated therapeutic antibodies, not including the fucosylated forms, exhibit the strongest and most saturable in vitro and ex vivo ADCC among such antibody variants with improved FcgammaRIIIa binding as those bearing naturally occurring oligosaccharide heterogeneities and artificial amino acid mutations, even in the presence of plasma IgG. Robust stable production of completely non-fucosylated therapeutic antibodies in a fixed quality has been achieved by the generation of a unique host cell line, in which the endogenous alpha-1,6-fucosyltransferase (FUT8) gene is knocked out. Thus, the application of non-fucosylated antibodies is expected to be a promising approach as next-generation therapeutic antibodies with improved efficacy, even when administrated at low doses in humans in vivo. Clinical trials using non-fucosylated antibody therapeutics are underway at present.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / genetics
  • Antibodies / metabolism
  • Antibodies / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / genetics
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / metabolism
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antibody-Dependent Cell Cytotoxicity* / genetics
  • Fucose / metabolism
  • Fucose / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy


  • Antibodies
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Fucose