Optimization of antibody binding to FcgammaRIIa enhances macrophage phagocytosis of tumor cells

Mol Cancer Ther. 2008 Aug;7(8):2517-27. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-08-0201.


The contribution of Fc-mediated effector functions to the therapeutic efficacy of some monoclonal antibodies has motivated efforts to enhance interactions with Fcgamma receptors (FcgammaR). Although an early goal has been enhanced FcgammaRIIIa binding and natural killer (NK) cell antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC), other relevant cell types such as macrophages are dependent on additional activating receptors such as FcgammaRIIa. Here, we describe a set of engineered Fc variants with diverse FcgammaR affinities, including a novel substitution G236A that provides selectively enhanced binding to FcgammaRIIa relative to FcgammaRIIb. Variants containing this substitution have up to 70-fold greater FcgammaRIIa affinity and 15-fold improvement in FcgammaRIIa/FcgammaRIIb ratio and mediate enhanced phagocytosis of antibody-coated target cells by macrophages. Specific double and triple combination variants with this substitution are simultaneously capable of exhibiting high NK-mediated ADCC and high macrophage phagocytosis. In addition, we have used this unique set of variants to quantitatively probe the relative contributions of individual FcgammaR to effector functions mediated by NK cells and macrophages. These experiments show that FcgammaRIIa plays the most influential role for macrophages and, surprisingly, that the inhibitory receptor FcgammaRIIb has little effect on effector function. The enhancements in phagocytosis described here provide the potential to improve the performance of therapeutic antibodies targeting cancers.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies / immunology*
  • Antibody-Dependent Cell Cytotoxicity
  • Binding Sites, Antibody
  • Cell Line
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Phagocytosis*
  • Receptors, IgG / immunology*


  • Antibodies
  • Fc gamma receptor IIA
  • Receptors, IgG