Concentrations of EpCAM ectodomain as found in sera of cancer patients do not significantly impact redirected lysis and T-cell activation by EpCAM/CD3-bispecific BiTE antibody MT110

MAbs. Jan-Feb 2011;3(1):31-7. doi: 10.4161/mabs.3.1.14193. Epub 2011 Jan 1.


Ectodomains of target antigens for antibody-based therapies can be shed from the target cell surface and found in sera of patients. Shed ectodomains of therapeutic targets not only pose the risk of sequestering therapeutic antibodies but, in a multimeric form, of triggering T cell activation by bispecific antibodies binding to CD3 on T cells. Recently, epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) has been shown to be activated by release of its ectodomain, called EpEX. Here, we show that only very low amounts of EpEX are detectable in sera of cancer patients. Among 100 cancer patient samples tested, only 17 (17%) showed serum levels of EpEX in excess of 0.05 ng/ml with highest EpEX concentrations of 5.29, 1.37 and 0.52 ng/ml. A recombinant form of human EpEX (recEpEX) was produced to assess its possible effect on redirected lysis and T cell activation by EpCAM/CD3-bispecific BiTE antibody MT110, currently being tested in patients with solid tumor malignancies. RecEpEX had a very minor effect on redirected lysis by MT110 with an approximate IC 50 value of 3,000 ng/ml, which is a concentration close to three orders of magnitude higher than the highest EpEX concentration found in cancer patients. Concentrations of 30 ng/ml EpEX in combination with 250 ng/ml MT110 were minimally required to induce a detectable activation of CD4 (+) and CD8 (+) T cells. We conclude that soluble EpEX in sera of cancer patients is unlikely to pose an issue for the efficacy or safety of MT110, and perhaps other antibodies binding to N-terminal epitopes of EpCAM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bispecific / immunology
  • Antibodies, Bispecific / pharmacology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / blood
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology*
  • Blotting, Western
  • CHO Cells
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / blood
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / immunology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic / drug effects
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic / immunology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule
  • HEK293 Cells
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • Lymphocyte Activation / drug effects
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Neoplasms / blood
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Single-Chain Antibodies
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism


  • Antibodies, Bispecific
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • EPCAM protein, human
  • Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule
  • MT110 monoclonal antibody
  • Single-Chain Antibodies