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The Evolving Landscape of Monoclonal Antibody Therapy in Cancer Treatment

Published On 04/11/2024 10:11 AM

The advent of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) has significantly advanced oncology, providing targeted therapies that specifically attack cancer cells while sparing normal tissue. Originating from the groundbreaking work of Köhler and Milstein in 1975, which was later honored with a Nobel Prize, monoclonal antibodies have become pivotal in harnessing the immune system against cancer. This technology has enabled the precise targeting of tumor antigens, marking a shift towards more personalized and effective cancer treatments.

Mechanisms of Action and Therapeutic Targets
The mechanisms of action of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) encompass a broad spectrum, from direct inhibition of tumor cell proliferation by targeting critical signaling pathways, such as Cetuximab's engagement with the EGFR pathway, to the modulation of immune system checkpoints, as demonstrated by Ipilimumab's facilitation of anti-tumor immunity. This multifaceted strategy, which merges direct antagonism of tumor growth with the activation of the immune response, highlights the versatility and potential of monoclonal antibodies in the ongoing battle against cancer.

Key Cell Markers Targeted by Monoclonal Antibody Therapy:

  1. PD-1/PD-L1
    • Cell Signaling Pathway: Inhibits PD-1/PD-L1 interaction, promotes T cell activation and proliferation, enhances immune response against tumor cells.
    • Current Available Drugs: Atezolizumab, Avelumab, Cemiplimab, Durvalumab, Nivolumab, Pembrolizumab
    • Indications: Bladder cancer, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and triple-negative breast cancers, Urothelial carcinoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma.
  1. VEGF
    • Cell Signaling Pathway: Inhibits angiogenesis by binding to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).
    • Current Available Drugs: Bevacizumab,
    • Indications: Colorectal, NSCLC, renal, glioblastoma, ovarian cancers.
  1. EGFR
    • Cell Signaling Pathway: Inhibits the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) pathway.
    • Current Available Drugs: Cetuximab, Necitumumab, Panitumumab
    • Indications: Colorectal cancer, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
  1. CD38
    • Cell Signaling Pathway: Induces tumor cell death through several mechanisms including complement-dependent cytotoxicity.
    • Current Available Drugs: Daratumumab, Isatuximab
    • Indications: Multiple myeloma.
  1. GD2
    • Cell Signaling Pathway: Targets disialoganglioside GD2 on neuroblastoma cells, activating immune-mediated cell death.
    • Current Available Drugs: Dinutuximab
    • Indications: Neuroblastoma.
  1.  SLAMF7
    • Cell Signaling Pathway: Directly activates natural killer cells and promotes antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity.
    • Current Available Drugs: Elotuzumab
    • Indications: Multiple myeloma (Elotuzumab is combined with lenalidomide and dexamethasone).
  1. CTLA-4
    • Cell Signaling Pathway: Blocks CTLA-4 to augment T-cell activation and proliferation.
    • Current Available Drugs: Ipilimumab
    • Indications: Melanoma, renal cell carcinoma, and metastatic colorectal cancer with certain characteristics.
  1. CCR4
    • Cell Signaling Pathway: Targets CCR4 on T-regulatory cells and tumor cells, enhancing immune response against the tumor.
    • Current Available Drugs: Mogamulizumab
    • Indications: Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) and adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL).
  1. CD20
    • Cell Signaling Pathway: Induces direct cell death and mediates antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity and complement-dependent cytotoxicity.
    • Current Available Drugs: Obinutuzumab, Ofatumumab, Rituximab
    • Indications: Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), follicular lymphoma, and other B-cell malignancies.
  1. PDGFRα
    • Cell Signaling Pathway: Inhibits platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRα), affecting tumor growth and angiogenesis.
    • Current Available Drugs: Olaratumab
    • Indications: Soft tissue sarcoma.
  1. HER2
    • Cell Signaling Pathway: Inhibits HER2 receptor dimerization, blocking signal transduction pathways that promote cell growth.
    • Current Available Drugs: Pertuzumab, Trastuzumab
    • Indications: HER2-positive breast cancer.
  1. VEGFR2
    • Cell Signaling Pathway: Blocks the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2), inhibiting angiogenesis.
    • Current Available Drugs: Ramucirumab
    • Indications: Gastric cancer, colorectal cancer, NSCLC, and hepatocellular carcinoma.
  1. CD19
    • Cell Signaling Pathway: A bispecific T-cell engager (BiTE) antibody that brings T-cells into proximity with CD19-expressing B cells to induce cytotoxicity.
    • Current Available Drugs: Blinatumomab
    • Indications: B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
Current Challenges in Monoclonal Antibody Therapy
The application of mAbs is constrained by challenges such as resistance development, high treatment costs, and the need for immune system optimization without adverse effects. These highlight the essential need for continued research and development to enhance mAbs' therapeutic potential.

Future Perspectives and Innovative Solutions
The horizon is promising with advancements such as bispecific antibodies, which target two antigens simultaneously, and antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) that deliver cytotoxic drugs directly to cancer cells. Research into overcoming resistance mechanisms and reducing therapy costs is also paving the way for more effective and accessible treatments.

Monoclonal antibody therapy has revolutionized cancer treatment, providing new hope to patients with conditions once deemed untreatable. With our portfolio of antibody products designed for research, scientists are equipped with the tools necessary to delve deeper into the complex interplay between cancer and the immune system. As we continue to explore and understand the intricate battle between cancer and the immune system, mAbs will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping future therapeutic strategies, bringing us closer to a world where cancer can be effectively managed or even cured.

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This entry was posted in Application and Technique Notes