Importance of antibody isotypes in antitumor immunity by monocytes and complement using human-immune tumor models

Eur J Immunol. 2021 May;51(5):1218-1233. doi: 10.1002/eji.202048885. Epub 2021 Mar 9.


Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have revolutionized clinical medicine, especially in the field of cancer immunotherapy. The challenge now is to improve the response rates, as immunotherapy still fails for many patients. Strategies to enhance tumor cell death is a fundamental aim, but relevant model systems for human tumor immunology are lacking. Herein, we have developed a preclinical human immune - three-dimensional (3D) tumor model (spheroids) to map the efficiency of tumor-specific isotypes for improved tumor cell killing. Different anti-CD20 Rituximab (RTX) isotypes alone or in combination, were evaluated for mediating complement-dependent cytotoxicity and antibody-dependent phagocytosis by human monocytic cells in 3D spheroids, in parallel with monolayer cultures, of human CD20+ B-cell lymphomas. We demonstrate that the IgG3 variant of RTX has the greatest tumoricidal effect over other isotypes, and when combined with apoptosis-inducing RTX-IgG2 isotype the therapeutic effect can be substantially enhanced. The results show further that the treatment outcome by RTX isotypes is influenced by tumor morphology and expression of the complement inhibitor CD59. Hence, the human immune-3D tumor model is a clinical relevant and attractive ex vivo system to predict mAbs for best efficacy in cancer immunotherapy.

Keywords: Rituximab; antibody-dependent phagocytosis (ADP); complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC); human 3D tumor-immune model; isotypes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody-Dependent Cell Cytotoxicity
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological / therapeutic use
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Complement Activation / drug effects
  • Complement Activation / immunology
  • Complement System Proteins / immunology*
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Isotypes / pharmacology*
  • Immunoglobulin Isotypes / therapeutic use
  • Immunomodulation / drug effects*
  • Monocytes / drug effects*
  • Monocytes / immunology*
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / pathology


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological
  • Immunoglobulin Isotypes
  • Complement System Proteins