Sym004-induced EGFR elimination is associated with profound anti-tumor activity in EGFRvIII patient-derived glioblastoma models

J Neurooncol. 2018 Jul;138(3):489-498. doi: 10.1007/s11060-018-2832-6. Epub 2018 Mar 21.


Background: Sym004 is a mixture of two monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), futuximab and modotuximab, targeting non-overlapping epitopes on the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Previous studies have shown that Sym004 is more efficient at inducing internalization and degradation of EGFR than individual components, which translates into superior cancer cell inhibition. We investigated whether Sym004 induces removal of EGFRvIII and if this removal translates into tumor growth inhibition in hard-to-treat glioblastomas (GBMs) harboring the mutated, constitutively active EGFR variant III (EGFRvIII).

Methods: To address this question, we tested the effect of Sym004 versus cetuximab in eight patient-derived GBM xenograft models expressing either wild-type EGFR (EGFRwt) and/or mutant EGFRvIII. All models were tested as both subcutaneous and orthotopic intracranial xenograft models.

Results: In vitro studies demonstrated that Sym004 internalized and removed EGFRvIII more efficiently than mAbs, futuximab, modotuximab, and cetuximab. Removal of EGFRvIII by Sym004 translated into significant in vivo anti-tumor activity in all six EGFRvIII xenograft models. Furthermore, the anti-tumor activity of Sym004 in vivo was superior to that of its individual components, futuximab and modotuximab, suggesting a clear synergistic effect of the mAbs in the mixture.

Conclusion: These results demonstrate the broad activity of Sym004 in patient-derived EGFRvIII-expressing GBM xenograft models and provide a clear rationale for clinical evaluation of Sym004 in EGFRvIII-positive adult GBM patients.

Keywords: EGFR; EGFRvIII; GBM; Sym004; mAbs.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Brain Neoplasms / genetics
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics
  • ErbB Receptors / immunology
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism
  • Female
  • Glioblastoma / genetics
  • Glioblastoma / metabolism
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Glioblastoma / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Subcutaneous Tissue
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • futuximab
  • EGFR protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors