CD40 is an immune costimulatory receptor expressed by antigen-presenting cells. Agonistic anti-CD40 antibodies have demonstrated considerable antitumor effects yet can also elicit serious treatment-related adverse events, such as liver toxicity, including in man. We engineered a variant that binds extracellular matrix through a super-affinity peptide derived from placenta growth factor-2 (PlGF-2123-144) to enhance anti-CD40's effects when administered locally. Peritumoral injection of PlGF-2123-144-anti-CD40 antibody showed prolonged tissue retention at the injection site and substantially decreased systemic exposure, resulting in decreased liver toxicity. In four mouse tumor models, PlGF-2123-144-anti-CD40 antibody demonstrated enhanced antitumor efficacy compared with its unmodified form and correlated with activated dendritic cells, B cells, and T cells in the tumor and in the tumor-draining lymph node. Moreover, in a genetically engineered BrafV600E βCatSTA melanoma model that does not respond to checkpoint inhibitors, PlGF-2123-144-anti-CD40 antibody treatment enhanced T-cell infiltration into the tumors and slowed tumor growth. Together, these results demonstrate the marked therapeutic advantages of engineering matrix-binding domains onto agonistic anti-CD40 antibody as a therapeutic given by tumori-regional injection for cancer immunotherapy.Implications: Extracellular matrix-binding peptide conjugation to agonistic anti-CD40 antibody enhances antitumor efficacy and reduces treatment-related adverse events. Mol Cancer Ther; 17(11); 2399-411. ©2018 AACR.
©2018 American Association for Cancer Research.