Engineering CD3/CD137 Dual Specificity into a DLL3-Targeted T-Cell Engager Enhances T-Cell Infiltration and Efficacy against Small-Cell Lung Cancer

Cancer Immunol Res. 2024 Apr 1:OF1-OF12. doi: 10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-23-0638. Online ahead of print.


Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) is an aggressive cancer for which immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) have had only limited success. Bispecific T-cell engagers are promising therapeutic alternatives for ICI-resistant tumors, but not all patients with SCLC are responsive. Herein, to integrate CD137 costimulatory function into a T-cell engager format and thereby augment therapeutic efficacy, we generated a CD3/CD137 dual-specific Fab and engineered a DLL3-targeted trispecific antibody (DLL3 trispecific). The CD3/CD137 dual-specific Fab was generated to competitively bind to CD3 and CD137 to prevent DLL3-independent cross-linking of CD3 and CD137, which could lead to systemic T-cell activation. We demonstrated that DLL3 trispecific induced better tumor growth control and a marked increase in the number of intratumoral T cells compared with a conventional DLL3-targeted bispecific T-cell engager. These findings suggest that DLL3 trispecific can exert potent efficacy by inducing concurrent CD137 costimulation and provide a promising therapeutic option for SCLC.