An Anti-CD7 Antibody-Drug Conjugate Target Showing Potent Antitumor Activity for T-Lymphoblastic Leukemia (T-ALL)

Biomolecules. 2024 Jan 15;14(1):106. doi: 10.3390/biom14010106.


Acute T-lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is a type of leukemia that can occur in both pediatric and adult populations. Compared to acute B-cell lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL), patients with T-cell T-ALL have a poorer therapeutic efficacy. In this study, a novel anti-CD7 antibody-drug conjugate (ADC, J87-Dxd) was successfully generated and used for T-ALL treatment. Firstly, to obtain anti-CD7 mAbs, we expressed and purified the CD7 protein extracellular domain. Utilizing hybridoma technology, we obtained three anti-CD7 mAbs (J87, G73 and A15) with a high affinity for CD7. Both the results of immunofluorescence and Biacore assay indicated that J87 (KD = 1.54 × 10-10 M) had the highest affinity among the three anti-CD7 mAbs. In addition, an internalization assay showed the internalization level of J87 to be higher than that of the other two mAbs. Next, we successfully generated the anti-CD7 ADC (J87-Dxd) by conjugating DXd to J87 via a cleavable maleimide-GGFG peptide linker. J87-Dxd also possessed the ability to recognize and bind CD7. Using J87-Dxd to treat T-ALL cells (Jurkat and CCRF-CEM), we observed that J87-Dxd bound to CD7 was internalized into T-ALL cells. Moreover, J87-Dxd treatment significantly induced the apoptosis of Jurkat and CCRF-CEM cells. The IC50 (half-maximal inhibitory concentration) value of J87-Dxd against CCRF-CEM obtained by CCK-8 assay was 6.3 nM. Finally, to assess the antitumor efficacy of a J87-Dxd in vivo, we established T-ALL mouse models and treated mice with J87-Dxd or J87. The results showed that on day 24 after tumor inoculation, all mice treated with J87 or PBS died, whereas the survival rate of mice treated with J87-Dxd was 80%. H&E staining showed no significant organic changes in the heart, liver, spleen, lungs and kidneys of all mice. In summary, we demonstrated that the novel anti-CD7 ADC (J87-Dxd) had a potent and selective effect against CD7-expressing T-All cells both in vitro and in vivo, and could thus be expected to be further developed as a new drug for the treatment of T-ALL or other CD7-expression tumors.

Keywords: ADC; CD7; T-ALL; mAbs; therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antigens, CD7 / immunology
  • Antigens, CD7 / therapeutic use
  • Burkitt Lymphoma*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Immunoconjugates* / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma* / drug therapy
  • Precursor T-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma* / drug therapy


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Immunoconjugates
  • Antigens, CD7