Treatment parameters modulating regression of human melanoma xenografts by an antibody-drug conjugate (CR011-vcMMAE) targeting GPNMB

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2007 Aug;60(3):423-35. doi: 10.1007/s00280-007-0490-z. Epub 2007 Jun 1.


Purpose: To investigate the pharmacological properties of the CR011-vcMMAE fully human antibody-drug conjugate (ADC), such as dose titrations, quantitation of the time (days) to complete regression, pharmacokinetics, and schedule dependency. Our prior study characterized a fully human antibody to GPNMB covalently linked to monomethylauristatin E, CR011-vcMMAE, and further demonstrated cell surface staining of melanoma lines susceptible to the immunoconjugate's cytotoxicity (Clin Cancer Res 2005; 12(4): 1373-1382).

Methods: The human SK-MEL-2 and SK-MEL-5 melanoma xenografts were used in athymic mice to assess anti-tumor efficacy. After s.c. implantation, tumors became established (60-100 mg), and treatment commenced by i.v. injection of the immunoconjugate or vinblastine or paclitaxel. Short-term anti-tumor effects (inhibition of tumor growth) and long-term effects (complete regression) were observed.

Results: CR011-vcMMAE induced regression of established human SK-MEL-2 and SK-MEL-5 xenografts at doses from 1.25 to 80 mg/kg treatment when administered intravenously every 4 days (4 treatments); strikingly, regressions were not associated with re-growth during the observation period (200 days). The disappearance rate of implants was dose dependent (minimum time, 18.5 days). Detectable serum CR011-vcMMAE >or=1 microg/mL (approximately 0.01 microM) was observed for >30 days post-dose; CR011-vcMMAE showed an elimination half-life of 10.3 days. A low volume of distribution suggested that CR011-vcMMAE was confined to blood and interstitial fluid. CR011-vcMMAE could be delivered by either a single bolus dose or by intermittent dosing (i.e., every 1, 2, 4, 8, or 16 days) with no discernible differences in the proportion of tumor-free survivors, indicating a lack of schedule dependency. The antibody-drug conjugate produced complete regressions, but the equivalent doses of free monomethylauristatin E or unconjugated antibody did not show anti-tumor effects. In addition, decreases in plasma tumor-derived human interleukin-8 coincided with tumor nodule disappearance.

Conclusions: Short-term anti-tumor effects and long-term effects (complete regression) were observed with CR011-vcMMAE, but not with the reference agents. These results suggest that CR011-vcMMAE may provide therapeutic benefit in malignant melanoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunotoxins / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Melanoma / drug therapy*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / drug therapy
  • Transplantation, Heterologous


  • GPNMB protein, human
  • Immunotoxins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins