Delivery of NKG2D Ligand Using an Anti-HER2 Antibody-NKG2D Ligand Fusion Protein Results in an Enhanced Innate and Adaptive Antitumor Response
NKG2D ligands link the innate and adapative immune response by activating the receptors expressed on effector cells of both the innate (NK) and adaptive immune systems (CD8+ T cells). In this study, we explored the potential therapeutic utility of this intersection by fusing the murine NKG2D ligand Rae-1β to the 3′ end of an anti-HER2 IgG3 antibody containing an intact Fc domain (anti-HER2 IgG3-Rae-1β), thereby targeting an NK cell activation signal to HER2+ breast tumor cells. The antitumor efficacy of this anti-HER2-Rae-1β fusion protein was examined in a mouse mammary tumor model engineered to express HER2 (EMT6-HER2 cells). We observed an enhanced cytotoxic response of NK effectors against EMT-HER2 cells in vitro. Mice implanted on one flank with EMT6-HER2 cells and contralaterally with control EMT6 cells exhibited rapid regression of EMT6-HER2 tumors but delayed regression of contralateral EMT6 tumors. IFNγ was implicated, given a lack of antitumor efficacy in IFNγ−/− mice. Depletion of either NK cells or CD8+ T cells abrogated tumor growth inhibition, suggesting essential roles for each in the observed antitumor activity. Mice rejecting EMT6-HER2 tumors after anti-HER2-Rae-1β treatment showed markedly decreased tumor growth when rechallenged with EMT6-HER2 or EMT6 cells, whereas both EMT6 and EMT6-HER2 cells grew in control mice, indicating the development of an adaptive memory response. Our findings demonstrate that administration of an antibody-NKG2D ligand fusion protein can enhance innate and adaptive immune antitumor responses, also evoking additional nontargeted antigens to enhance the potential clinical utility of this approach. Cancer Res; 70(24); 10121–30. ©2010 AACR.