Ligand-Blocking and Membrane-Proximal Domain Targeting Anti-OX40 Antibodies Mediate Potent T Cell-Stimulatory and Anti-Tumor Activity

Cell Rep. 2019 Jun 11;27(11):3117-3123.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.05.027.


Agonistic antibodies targeting the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily of co-stimulatory receptors (TNFRSF) are progressing through various stages of clinical development for cancer treatment, but the desired and defining features of these agents for optimal biological activity remain controversial. One idea, based on recent studies with CD40, is that non-ligand-blocking antibodies targeting membrane-distal cysteine-rich domain 1 (CRD1) have superior agonistic activities compared with ligand-blocking antibodies targeting more membrane-proximal CRDs. Here, we determined the binding and functional characteristics of a panel of antibodies targeting CRDs 1-4 of OX40 (also known as TNFRSF4 or CD134). In striking contrast to CD40, we found that ligand-blocking CRD2-binding and membrane-proximal CRD4-binding anti-OX40 antibodies have the strongest agonistic and anti-tumor activities. These findings have important translational implications and further highlight that the relationship between epitope specificity and agonistic activity will be an important issue to resolve on a case-by-case basis when optimizing antibodies targeting different co-stimulatory tumor necrosis factor receptors (TNFRs).

Keywords: OX40; OX86; TNFR; agonist; epitope; ligand-blocking; membrane-proximal; monoclonal antibody.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Epitopes / chemistry
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Jurkat Cells
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / therapy*
  • OX40 Ligand / chemistry
  • OX40 Ligand / immunology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Receptors, OX40 / chemistry
  • Receptors, OX40 / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Epitopes
  • OX40 Ligand
  • Receptors, OX40