The prognosis for patients with mesothelioma is poor, which prompts the need for the development of better treatment options. Antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) are gaining interest as a therapeutic strategy in mesothelioma. Trophoblast glycoprotein (5T4) is an oncofetal protein overexpressed in mesothelioma with low expression in normal tissue and therefore a good candidate for ADC treatment. Here, we evaluated and manipulated 5T4 as a suitable antigen for ADC targeted therapy in patients with mesothelioma.
5T4 was expressed in 10 of 12 (primary) cell lines. Most biopsy specimens stained positive for the 5T4 antigen, with marked differences in staining intensity and percentage of positive cells. High expression correlated with long progression-free survival. Both free antibody and ADCs targeting 5T4 were internalized and entered lysosomal compartments. Cytotoxicity experiments showed that cell lines with a high expression for 5T4 were sensitive to two of three ADCs. Lack of efficacy for the third ADC could be restored by neutralizing lysosomal compartments with chloroquine.
Expression of the 5T4 antigen is evaluated in (primary) mesothelioma cell lines and biopsy specimens, and correlated with clinical outcome. Internalization was assessed in 5T4 expressing cells. The cytotoxicity of three different 5T4-targeting ADCs was tested on (primary) mesothelioma cells.
The 5T4 antigen is expressed in mesothelioma and 5T4-based ADCs are internalized in lysosomes. Two of three ADCs were capable of killing the mesothelioma cells; the third ADC required additional lysosomal neutralization for its effect. 5T4-based ADCs would be a selective strategy for the treatment of mesothelioma.