T-DM1, a novel antibody-drug conjugate, is highly effective against primary HER2 overexpressing uterine serous carcinoma in vitro and in vivo

Cancer Med. 2014 Oct;3(5):1256-65. doi: 10.1002/cam4.274. Epub 2014 Jun 2.


Amplification of c-erbB2 has been reported in over 30% of uterine serous carcinoma (USC) and found to confer poor survival because of high proliferation and increased resistance to therapy. In this study, we evaluated for the first time Trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1), a novel antibody-drug conjugate, against multiple epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2)-positive USC cells in vitro followed by developing a supportive in vivo model. Fifteen primary USC cell lines were assessed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and flow cytometry for HER2 protein expression. C-erbB2 gene amplification was evaluated using fluorescent in situ hybridization. Sensitivity to T-DM1 and trastuzumab (T)-induced antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity was evaluated in 5-h chromium release assays. T-DM1 and T cytostatic and apoptotic activities were evaluated using flow-cytometry-based proliferation assays. In vivo activity of T-DM1 versus T in USC xenografts in SCID mice was also evaluated. High levels of HER2 protein overexpression and HER2 gene amplification were detected in 33% of USC cell lines. T-DM1 was considerably more effective than trastuzumab in inhibiting cell proliferation and in causing apoptosis (P = 0.004) of USC showing HER2 overexpression. Importantly, T-DM1 was highly active at reducing tumor formation in vivo in USC xenografts overexpressing HER2 (P = 0.04) and mice treated with TDM-1 had significantly longer survival when compared to T-treated mice and control mice (P ≤ 0.0001). T-DM1 shows promising antitumor effect in HER2-positive USC cell lines and USC xenografts and its activity is significantly higher when compared to T. T-DM1 may represent a novel treatment option for HER2-positive USC patients with disease refractory to trastuzumab and traditional chemotherapy.

Keywords: Ado-trastuzumab emtansine; HER2; T-DM1; trastuzumab; uterine serous carcinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / pharmacology*
  • Antibody-Dependent Cell Cytotoxicity / immunology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Carcinoma / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma / genetics
  • Carcinoma / immunology
  • Carcinoma / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma / mortality
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Cell Cycle Checkpoints / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Gene Amplification
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Maytansine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Maytansine / pharmacology
  • Middle Aged
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / genetics
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism*
  • Trastuzumab
  • Uterine Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Uterine Neoplasms / genetics
  • Uterine Neoplasms / immunology
  • Uterine Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / mortality
  • Uterine Neoplasms / pathology
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Maytansine
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • Trastuzumab
  • Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine