Catumaxomab is a trifunctional antibody (trAb) characterized by its unique ability to bind three different cell types: tumor cells, T-cells, and accessory cells. It has two different antigen-binding specificities: one for epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) on tumor cells and one for the CD3 antigen on T-cells. Catumaxomab also binds to type I, IIa, and III Fcγ receptors (FcγR) on accessory cells, e.g. macrophages, dendritic cells, and natural killer cells, via its intact Fc region. Its anti-tumor activity results from T-cell-mediated lysis, antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity, and phagocytosis via activation of FcγR-positive accessory cells. Importantly, no additional activation of immune cells is necessary for effective tumor eradication by catumaxomab, which represents a self-supporting system. Catumaxomab's efficacy and safety have been demonstrated in a pivotal phase II/III study and supporting phase I/II studies. It is administered as four intraperitoneal (i.p.) infusions on days 0, 3, 7, and 10 at doses of 10, 20, 50, and 150μg, respectively. Catumaxomab has been approved in the European Union since April 2009 for the i.p. treatment of malignant ascites (MA) in patients with EpCAM-positive carcinomas where standard therapy is not available or no longer feasible. Catumaxomab is the first trAb and the first drug worldwide to be approved specifically for the treatment of MA. It is in clinical trials in a number of other indications including ovarian and gastric cancer. Alternative routes of administration are also under evaluation to further exploit the therapeutic potential of catumaxomab in EpCAM-positive carcinomas.
2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.