The primary mechanism of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) is targeted delivery of a cytotoxic payload to tumor cells via cancer-associated membrane receptors. However, the tumor microenvironment likely plays a role in ADC penetration, distribution, and processing and thus impacts the overall antitumor activity. Here, we report on the potential contribution of Fc-FcγR interactions between ADCs and tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) to the preclinical antitumor activities of ADCs. In the CD30+ L-428 Hodgkin lymphoma model, anti-CD30-vcMMAE and a non-binding control (hIgG-vcMMAE) demonstrated similar antitumor activity as well as similar payload release in the tumors. Immunohistochemistry analysis revealed L-428 tumors contained highly abundant TAMs, which were confirmed to bind ADCs by IHC and flow cytometry. The infiltration of TAMs was further found to correlate with the antitumor activity of the non-binding hIgG-vcMMAE in five additional xenograft models. hIgG1V1-vcMMAE, bearing a mutation in the Fc region which ablates Fc gamma receptor (FcγR) binding, lost antitumor activity in three TAM-high xenograft models, suggesting Fc-FcγR interactions modulate the TAM-ADC interaction. Our results suggest that TAMs can contribute to ADC processing through FcγR interaction in preclinical tumor models and may represent an important additional mechanism for drug release from ADCs. Correlative studies in clinical trials will further shed light on whether TAMs play a role in patients' response to ADC therapies.
- Received January 4, 2017.
- Revision received March 15, 2017.
- Accepted March 15, 2017.
- Copyright ©2017, American Association for Cancer Research.