APOMAB®, a La-specific monoclonal antibody, detects the apoptotic tumor response to life-prolonging and DNA-damaging chemotherapy

Fares Al-Ejeh, Jocelyn M. Darby, Chris Tsopelas, Douglas Smyth, Jim Manavis, Michael P. Brown

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31 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Antineoplastic therapy may impair the survival of malignant cells to produce cell death. Consequently, direct measurement of tumor cell death in vivo is a highly desirable component of therapy response monitoring. We have previously shown that APOMAB® representing the DAB4 clone of a La/SSB-specific murine monoclonal autoantibody is a malignant cell-death ligand, which accumulates preferentially in tumors in an antigen-specific and dose-dependent manner after DNA-damaging chemotherapy. Here, we aim to image tumor uptake of APOMAB® (DAB4) and to define its biological correlates. Methodology/Principal Findings: Brisk tumor cell apoptosis is induced in the syngeneic EL4 lymphoma model after treatment of tumor-bearing mice with DNA-damaging cyclophosphamide/etoposide chemotherapy. Tumor and normal organ accumulation of Indium 111 (111In)-labeled La-specific DAB4 mAb as whole IgG or IgG fragments was quantified by whole-body static imaging and organ assay in tumor-bearing mice. Immunohistochemical measurements of tumor caspase-3 activation and PARP-1 cleavage, which are indicators of early and late apoptosis, respectively, were correlated with tumor accumulation of DAB4. Increased tumor accumulation of DAB4 was associated directly with both the extent of chemotherapy-induced tumor cell death and DAB4 binding per dead tumor cell. Tumor DAB4 accumulation correlated with cumulative caspase-3 activation and PARP-1 cleavage as tumor biomarkers of apoptosis and was directly related to the extended median survival time of tumor-bearing mice. Conclusions/Significance: Radiolabeled La-specific monoclonal antibody, DAB4, detected dead tumor cells after chemotherapy, rather than chemosensitive normal tissues of gut and bone marrow. DAB4 identified late apoptotic tumor cells in vivo. Hence, radiolabeled DAB4 may usefully image responses to human carcinoma therapy because DAB4 would capture the protracted cell death of carcinoma. We believe that the ability of radiolabeled DAB4 to rapidly assess the apoptotic tumor response and, consequently, to potentially predict extended survival justifies its future clinical development as a radioimmunoscintigraphic agent. This article is part I of a two-part series providing proof-of-concept for the the diagnostic and therapeutic use of a La-specific monoclonal antibody, the DAB4 clone of which is represented by the registered trademark, APOMAB®.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere4558
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 27 Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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