Decitabine enhances anti-CD33 monoclonal antibody BI 836858-mediated natural killer ADCC against AML blasts.

Vasu S, He S, Cheney C, Gopalakrishnan B, Mani R, Lozanski G, Mo X, Groh V, Whitman SP, Konopitzky R, Kössl C, Bucci D, Lucas DM, Yu J, Caligiuri MA, Blum W, Adam PJ, Borges E, Rueter B, Heider KH, Marcucci G, Muthusamy N
Blood 127 2879-89 01/09/2016


Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common type of acute leukemia, affecting older individuals at a median age of 67 years. Resistance to intensive induction chemotherapy is the major cause of death in elderly AML; hence, novel treatment strategies are warranted. CD33-directed antibody-drug conjugates (gemtuzumab ozogamicin) have been shown to improve overall survival, validating CD33 as a target for antibody-based therapy of AML. Here, we report the in vitro efficacy of BI 836858, a fully human, Fc-engineered, anti-CD33 antibody using AML cell lines and primary AML blasts as targets. BI 836858-opsonized AML cells significantly induced both autologous and allogeneic natural killer (NK)-cell degranulation and NK-cell-mediated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). In vitro treatment of AML blasts with decitabine (DAC) or 5-azacytidine, 2 hypomethylating agents that show efficacy in older patients, did not compromise BI 836858-induced NK-cell-mediated ADCC. Evaluation of BI 836858-mediated ADCC in serial marrow AML aspirates in patients who received a 10-day course of DAC (pre-DAC, days 4, 11, and 28 post-DAC) revealed significantly higher ADCC in samples at day 28 post-DAC when compared with pre-DAC treatment. Analysis of ligands to activating receptors (NKG2D) showed significantly increased NKG2D ligand [NKG2DL] expression in day 28 post-DAC samples compared with pre-DAC samples; when NKG2DL receptor was blocked using antibodies, BI 836858-mediated ADCC was significantly decreased, suggesting that DAC enhances AML blast susceptibility to BI 836858 by upregulating NKG2DL. These data provide a rationale for combination therapy of Fc-engineered antibodies such as BI 836858 with azanucleosides in elderly patients with AML.

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