Evaluating (225)Ac and (177)Lu Radioimmunoconjugates against Antibody-Drug Conjugates for Small-Cell Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer

Mol Pharm. 2020 Oct 12. doi: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.0c00703. Online ahead of print.


Interest in the use of 225Ac for targeted alpha therapies has increased dramatically over the past few years, resulting in a multitude of new isotope production and translational research efforts. However, 225Ac radioimmunoconjugate (RIC) research is still in its infancy, with most prior experience in hematologic malignancies and only one reported preclinical solid tumor study using 225Ac RICs. In an effort to compare 225Ac RICs to other current antibody conjugates, a variety of RICs are tested against intractable small-cell lung cancer (SCLC). We directly compare, in vitro and in vivo, two promising candidates of each α or β- category, 225Ac and 177Lu, versus pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PBD) nonradioactive benchmarks. The monoclonal antibody constructs are targeted to either delta like 3 protein (DLL3), a recently discovered SCLC target, or CD46 as a positive control. An immunocompromised maximum tolerated dose assay is performed on NOD SCID mice, along with tumor efficacy proof-of-concept studies in vivo. We overview the conjugation techniques required to create serum-stable RICs and characterize and compare in vitro cell killing with RICs conjugated to nonspecific antibodies (huIgG1) with either native or site-specific thiol loci against tumor antigen DLL3-expressing and nonexpressing cell lines. Using patient-derived xenografts of SCLC onto NOD SCID mice, solid tumor growth was controlled throughout 3 weeks before growth appeared, in comparison to PBD conjugate controls. NOD SCID mice showed lengthened survival using 225Ac compared to 177Lu RICs, and PBD dimers showed full tumor suppression with nine out of ten mice. The exploration of RICs on a variety of antibody-antigen systems is necessary to direct efforts in cancer research toward promising candidates. However, the anti-DLL3-RIC system with 225Ac and 177Lu appears to be not as effective as the anti-DLL3-PBD counterpart in SCLC therapy with matched antibodies and portrays the challenges in both SCLC therapy as well as the specialized utility of RICs in cancer treatment.