Development of an Fn14 agonistic antibody as an anti-tumor agent

Molecular Discovery, Biogen Idec, 12 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA, USA.
mAbs (Impact Factor: 4.56). 07/2011; 3(4):362-75. DOI: 10.4161/mabs.3.4.16090
Source: PubMed


TWEAK, a TNF family ligand with pleiotropic cellular functions, was originally described as capable of inducing tumor cell death in vitro. TWEAK functions by binding its receptor, Fn14, which is up-regulated on many human solid tumors. Herein, we show that intratumoral administration of TWEAK, delivered either by an adenoviral vector or in an immunoglobulin Fc-fusion form, results in significant inhibition of tumor growth in a breast xenograft model. To exploit the TWEAK-Fn14 pathway as a therapeutic target in oncology, we developed an anti-Fn14 agonistic antibody, BIIB036. Studies described herein show that BIIB036 binds specifically to Fn14 but not other members of the TNF receptor family, induces Fn14 signaling, and promotes tumor cell apoptosis in vitro. In vivo, BIIB036 effectively inhibits growth of tumors in multiple xenograft models, including colon (WiDr), breast (MDA-MB-231), and gastric (NCI-N87) tumors, regardless of tumor cell growth inhibition response observed to BIIB036 in vitro. The anti-tumor activity in these cell lines is not TNF-dependent. Increasing the antigen-binding valency of BIB036 significantly enhances its anti-tumor effect, suggesting the contribution of higher order cross-linking of the Fn14 receptor. Full Fc effector function is required for maximal activity of BIIB036 in vivo, likely due to the cross-linking effect and/or ADCC mediated tumor killing activity. Taken together, the anti-tumor properties of BIIB036 validate Fn14 as a promising target in oncology and demonstrate its potential therapeutic utility in multiple solid tumor indications.

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    • "This implies that TweakR oligomerization is important for enavatuzumab-mediated growth inhibition and for the signaling that occurs downstream of the receptor. This agrees with previous reports assessing TweakR activation with agonist antibodies (15, 27). "
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    ABSTRACT: TweakR is a TNF receptor family member, whose natural ligand is the multifunctional cytokine TWEAK. The growth inhibitory activity observed following TweakR stimulation in certain cancer cell lines and the overexpression of TweakR in many solid tumor types led to the development of enavatuzumab (PDL192), a humanized IgG1 monoclonal antibody to TweakR. The purpose of this study was to determine the mechanism of action of enavatuzumab's tumor growth inhibition and to provide insight into the biology behind TweakR as a cancer therapeutic target. A panel of 105 cancer lines was treated with enavatuzumab in vitro; and 29 cell lines of varying solid tumor backgrounds had >25% growth inhibition in response to the antibody. Treatment of sensitive cell lines with enavatuzumab resulted in the in vitro and in vivo (xenograft) activation of both classical (p50, p65) and non-classical (p52, RelB) NFκB pathways. Using NFκB DNA binding functional ELISAs and microarray analysis, we observed increased activation of NFκB subunits and NFκB-regulated genes in sensitive cells over that observed in resistant cell lines. Inhibiting NFκB subunits (p50, p65, RelB, p52) and upstream kinases (IKK1, IKK2) with siRNA and chemical inhibitors consistently blocked enavatuzumab's activity. Furthermore, enavatuzumab treatment resulted in NFκB-dependent reduction in cell division as seen by the activation of the cell cycle inhibitor p21 both in vitro and in vivo. The finding that NFκB drives the growth inhibitory activity of enavatuzumab suggests that targeting TweakR with enavatuzumab may represent a novel cancer treatment strategy.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Frontiers in Immunology
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    • "This mAb can also inhibit the binding of both membrane-bound and soluble TWEAK to Fn14 (91, 107). Intraperitoneal injection of BIIB036 inhibited WiDr colon carcinoma, NCI-N87 gastric carcinoma, MDA-MB-231 breast cancer, and patient-derived colorectal tumor cell growth in xenograft assays (91, 92). Subsequent studies indicated that the optimal dosing for BIIB036 in tumor-bearing mice was twice weekly and tumor growth inhibition persisted up to 50 days after the termination of dosing (92). "
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    ABSTRACT: The TNF superfamily member TWEAK (TNFSF12) is a multifunctional cytokine implicated in physiological tissue regeneration and wound repair. TWEAK is initially synthesized as a membrane-anchored protein, but furin cleavage within the stalk region can generate a secreted TWEAK isoform. Both TWEAK isoforms bind to a small cell surface receptor named Fn14 (TNFRSF12A) and this interaction stimulates various cellular responses, including proliferation and migration. Fn14, like other members of the TNF receptor superfamily, is not a ligand-activated protein kinase. Instead, TWEAK:Fn14 engagement promotes Fn14 association with members of the TNFR associated factor family of adapter proteins, which triggers activation of various signaling pathways, including the classical and alternative NF-κB pathways. Numerous studies have revealed that Fn14 gene expression is significantly elevated in injured tissues and in most solid tumor types. Also, sustained Fn14 signaling has been implicated in the pathogenesis of cerebral ischemia, chronic inflammatory diseases, and cancer. Accordingly, several groups are developing TWEAK- or Fn14-targeted agents for possible therapeutic use in patients. These agents include monoclonal antibodies, fusion proteins, and immunotoxins. In this article, we provide an overview of some of the TWEAK/Fn14 axis-targeted agents currently in pre-clinical animal studies or in human clinical trials and discuss two other potential approaches to target this intriguing signaling node.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Frontiers in Immunology
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    • "Primary antibodies were: rabbit anti-pan-cytokeratin (CK) (1∶100), guinea pig anti-insulin (1∶150), rabbit anti-glucagon (1∶150), and rabbit anti-CD3 (1∶250) (Dako USA, Carpinteria, CA); rabbit anti-Ki-67 (1∶100, Vector Laboratories, Burlingame, CA), rat anti-F4/80 (1∶50, AbD Serotec, Raleigh, NC), humanized anti-Fn14 (P4A8 mAb, 2ug/ml [21], mouse anti-Ngn3 (1∶2000, Developmental Studies Hybridoma Bank, University of Iowa) guinea pig anti-human insulin (1∶200 Millipore, Billerica, MA) and rabbit anti-GFP (1∶4000, MBL International, Woburn, MA). Biotin-conjugated secondary antibodies were from Vector Laboratories. "
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    ABSTRACT: The adult mammalian pancreas has limited ability to regenerate in order to restore adequate insulin production from multipotent progenitors, the identity and function of which remain poorly understood. Here we test whether the TNF family member TWEAK (TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis) promotes β-cell neogenesis from proliferating pancreatic ductal epithelium in adult mice. C57Bl/6J mice were treated with Fc-TWEAK and pancreas harvested at different time points for analysis by histology and immunohistochemistry. For lineage tracing, 4 week old double transgenic mice CAII-CreER(TM): R26R-eYFP were implanted with tamoxifen pellet, injected with Fc-TWEAK or control Ig twice weekly and analyzed at day 18 for TWEAK-induced duct cell progeny by costaining for insulin and YFP. The effect of TWEAK on pancreatic regeneration was determined by pancytokeratin immunostaining of paraffin embedded sections from wildtype and TWEAK receptor (Fn14) deficient mice after Px. TWEAK stimulates proliferation of ductal epithelial cells through its receptor Fn14, while it has no mitogenic effect on pancreatic α- or β-cells or acinar cells. Importantly, TWEAK induces transient expression of endogenous Ngn3, a master regulator of endocrine cell development, and induces focal ductal structures with characteristics of regeneration foci. In addition, we identify by lineage tracing TWEAK-induced pancreatic β-cells derived from pancreatic duct epithelial cells. Conversely, we show that Fn14 deficiency delays formation of regenerating foci after Px and limits their expansion. We conclude that TWEAK is a novel factor mediating pancreatic β-cell neogenesis from ductal epithelium in normal adult mice.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · PLoS ONE
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