Tumor-targeted CD28 bispecific antibodies enhance the antitumor efficacy of PD-1 immunotherapy

Sci Transl Med. 2020 Jun 24;12(549):eaba2325. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aba2325.


Monoclonal antibodies that block the programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) checkpoint have revolutionized cancer immunotherapy. However, many major tumor types remain unresponsive to anti-PD-1 therapy, and even among responsive tumor types, most of the patients do not develop durable antitumor immunity. It has been shown that bispecific antibodies activate T cells by cross-linking the TCR/CD3 complex with a tumor-specific antigen (TSA). The class of TSAxCD3 bispecific antibodies have generated exciting results in early clinical trials. We have recently described another class of "costimulatory bispecifics" that cross-link a TSA to CD28 (TSAxCD28) and cooperate with TSAxCD3 bispecifics. Here, we demonstrate that these TSAxCD28 bispecifics (one specific for prostate cancer and the other for epithelial tumors) can also synergize with the broader anti-PD-1 approach and endow responsiveness-as well as long-term immune memory-against tumors that otherwise do not respond to anti-PD-1 alone. Unlike CD28 superagonists, which broadly activate T cells and induce cytokine storm, TSAxCD28 bispecifics display little or no toxicity when used alone or in combination with a PD-1 blocker in genetically humanized immunocompetent mouse models or in primates and thus may provide a well-tolerated and "off the shelf" combination approach with PD-1 immunotherapy that can markedly enhance antitumor efficacy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bispecific* / therapeutic use
  • CD28 Antigens
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor


  • Antibodies, Bispecific
  • CD28 Antigens
  • Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor