An antimesothelin-monomethyl auristatin E conjugate with potent antitumor activity in ovarian, pancreatic, and mesothelioma models

Suzie J. Scales, Nidhi Gupta, Glenn Pacheco, Ron Firestein, Dorothy M. French, Hartmut Koeppen, Linda Rangell, Vivian Barry-Hamilton, Elizabeth Luis, Josefa Chuh, Yin Zhang, Gladys S. Ingle, Aimee Fourie-O'Donohue, Katherine R. Kozak, Sarajane Ross, Mark S. Dennis, Susan D. Spencer

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Mesothelin (MSLN) is an attractive target for antibody-drug conjugate therapy because it is highly expressed in various epithelial cancers, with normal expression limited to nondividing mesothelia. We generated novel antimesothelin antibodies and conjugated an internalizing one (7D9) to the microtubuledisrupting drugs monomethyl auristatin E (MMAE) and MMAF, finding the most effective to be MMAE with a lysosomal protease-cleavable valine-citrulline linker. The humanized (h7D9.v3) version, αMSLNMMAE, specifically targeted mesothelin-expressing cells and inhibited their proliferation with an IC50 of 0.3 nmol/L. Because the antitumor activity of an antimesothelin immunotoxin (SS1P) in transfected mesothelin models did not translate to the clinic, we carefully selected in vivo efficacy models endogenously expressing clinically relevant levels of mesothelin, after scoring mesothelin levels in ovarian, pancreatic, and mesothelioma tumors by immunohistochemistry.We found that endogenous mesothelin in cancer cells is upregulated in vivo and identified two suitable xenograft models for each of these three indications. A single dose of αMSLN-MMAE profoundly inhibited or regressed tumor growth in a dose-dependent manner in all six models, including two patient-derived tumor xenografts. The robust and durable efficacy of αMSLN- MMAE in preclinical models of ovarian, mesothelioma, and pancreatic cancers justifies the ongoing phase I clinical trial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2630-2640
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Cancer Therapeutics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes

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