Anti-GRP-R monoclonal antibody antitumor therapy against neuroblastoma

Jingbo Qiao, Junquan Liu, Jillian C. Jacobson, Rachael A. Clark, Sora Lee, Li Liu, Zhiqiang An, Ningyan Zhang, Dai H. Chung

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Standard treatment for patients with high-risk neuroblastoma remains multimodal therapy including chemoradiation, surgical resection, and autologous stem cell rescue. Immunotherapy has demonstrated success in treating many types of cancers; however, its use in pediatric solid tumors has been limited by low tumor mutation burdens. Gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRP-R) is overexpressed in numerous malignancies, including poorly-differentiated neuroblastoma. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to GRP-R have yet to be developed but could serve as a potential novel immunotherapy. This preclinical study aims to evaluate the efficacy of a novel GRP-R mAb immunotherapy against neuroblastoma. We established four candidate anti-GRP-R mAbs by screening a single-chain variable fragment (scFv) library. GRP-R mAb-1 demonstrated the highest efficacy with the lowest EC50 at 4.607 ng/ ml against GRP-R expressing neuroblastoma cells, blocked the GRP-ligand activation of GRP-R and its downstream PI3K/AKT signaling. This resulted in functional inhibition of cell proliferation and anchorage-independent growth, indicating that mAb-1 has an antagonist inhibitory role on GRP-R. To examine the antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) of GRP-R mAb-1 on neuroblastoma, we co-cultured neuroblastoma cells with natural killer (NK) cells versus GRP-R mAb-1 treatment alone. GRP-R mAb-1 mediated ADCC effects on neuroblastoma cells and induced release of IFNγ by NK cells under co-culture conditions in vitro. The cytotoxic effects of mAb-1 were confirmed with the secretion of cytotoxic granzyme B from NK cells and the reduction of mitotic tumor cells in vivo using a murine tumor xenograft model. In summary, GRP-R mAb-1 demonstrated efficacious anti-tumor effects on neuroblastoma cells in preclinical models. Importantly, GRP-R mAb-1 may be an efficacious, novel immunotherapy in the treatment of high-risk neuroblastoma patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0277956
JournalPloS one
Issue number12 December
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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