Development and validation of an antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity-reporter gene assay

MAbs. May-Jun 2012;4(3):310-8. doi: 10.4161/mabs.19873. Epub 2012 Apr 26.


Humanized monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are the fastest growing class of biological therapeutics that are being developed for various medical indications, and more than 30 mAbs are already approved and in the market place. Antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) is an important biological function attributed to the mechanism of action of several therapeutic antibodies, particularly oncology targeting mAbs. The ADCC assay is a complicated and highly variable assay. Thus, the use of an ADCC assay as a lot release test or a stability test for clinical trial batches of mAbs has been a substantial challenge to install in quality control laboratories. We describe here the development and validation of an alternate approach, an ADCC-reporter gene assay that is based on the key attributes of the PBMC-based ADCC assay. We tested the biological relevance of this assay using an anti-CD20 based model and demonstrated that this ADCC-reporter assay correlated well with standard ADCC assays when induced with the drugable human isotypes [IgG1, IgG2, IgG4, IgG4S > P (S228P) and IgG4PAA (S228P, F234A, L235A)] and with IgG1 isotype variants with varying amounts of fucosylation. This data demonstrates that the ADCC-reporter gene assay has performance characteristics (accuracy, precision and robustness) to be used not only as a potency assay for lot release and stability testing for antibody therapeutics, but also as a key assay for the characterization and process development of therapeutic molecules.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / immunology*
  • Antibody-Dependent Cell Cytotoxicity / genetics*
  • Antigens, CD20 / immunology
  • Cytotoxicity Tests, Immunologic*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Genes, Reporter*
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Observer Variation
  • Quality Control
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antigens, CD20