Targeting CD46 for both adenocarcinoma and neuroendocrine prostate cancer

JCI Insight. 2018 Sep 6;3(17):e121497. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.121497.


Although initially responsive to androgen signaling inhibitors (ASIs), metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) inevitably develops and is incurable. In addition to adenocarcinoma (adeno), neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC) emerges to confer ASI resistance. We have previously combined laser capture microdissection and phage antibody display library selection on human cancer specimens and identified novel internalizing antibodies binding to tumor cells residing in their tissue microenvironment. We identified the target antigen for one of these antibodies as CD46, a multifunctional protein that is best known for negatively regulating the innate immune system. CD46 is overexpressed in primary tumor tissue and CRPC (localized and metastatic; adeno and NEPC), but expressed at low levels on normal tissues except for placental trophoblasts and prostate epithelium. Abiraterone- and enzalutamide-treated mCRPC cells upregulate cell surface CD46 expression. Genomic analysis showed that the CD46 gene is gained in 45% abiraterone-resistant mCRPC patients. We conjugated a tubulin inhibitor to our macropinocytosing anti-CD46 antibody and showed that the resulting antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) potently and selectively kills both adeno and NEPC cell lines in vitro (sub-nM EC50) but not normal cells. CD46 ADC regressed and eliminated an mCRPC cell line xenograft in vivo in both subcutaneous and intrafemoral models. Exploratory toxicology studies of the CD46 ADC in non-human primates demonstrated an acceptable safety profile. Thus, CD46 is an excellent target for antibody-based therapy development, which has potential to be applicable to both adenocarcinoma and neuroendocrine types of mCRPC that are resistant to current treatment.

Keywords: Oncology; Prostate cancer; Therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy
  • Adenocarcinoma / immunology
  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Androstenes / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology*
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm / pharmacology
  • Antibody Affinity
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / metabolism*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / immunology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Male
  • Membrane Cofactor Protein / genetics
  • Membrane Cofactor Protein / immunology
  • Membrane Cofactor Protein / metabolism*
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / drug therapy
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / immunology
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / metabolism*
  • Phenylthiohydantoin / analogs & derivatives
  • Phenylthiohydantoin / pharmacology
  • Prostate / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / immunology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Therapeutics
  • Tumor Microenvironment
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Androstenes
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Membrane Cofactor Protein
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Phenylthiohydantoin
  • enzalutamide
  • abiraterone