Abstract 0281


Kubetzko, S., Balic, E., Waibel, R., Zangemeister-Wittke, U., and Plückthun, A. (2006). PEGylation and multimerization of the anti-p185HER-2 single chain Fv fragment 4D5: effects on tumor targeting. J. Biol. Chem. 281, 35186-35201.


A major goal in antibody design for cancer therapy is to tailor the pharmacokinetic properties of the molecule according to specific treatment requirements. Key parameters determining the pharmacokinetics of therapeutic antibodies are target specificity, affinity, stability, and size. Using the p185HER-2 (HER-2)-specific scFv 4D5 as model system, we analyzed how changes in molecular weight and valency independently affect antigen binding and tumor localization. By employing multimerization and PEGylation, four different antibody formats were generated and compared with the scFv 4D5. First, dimeric and tetrameric miniantibodies were constructed by fusion of self-associating, disulfide-linked peptides to the scFv 4D5. Second, we attached a 20-kDa PEG moiety to the monovalent scFv and to the divalent miniantibody at the respective C terminus. In all formats, serum stability and full binding reactivity of the scFv 4D5 were retained. Functional affinity, however, did change. An avidity increase was achieved by multimerization, whereas PEGylation resulted in a 5-fold decreased affinity. Nevertheless, the PEGylated monomer showed an 8.5-fold, and the PEGylated dimer even a 14.5-fold higher tumor accumulation than the corresponding scFv, 48 h post-injection, because of a significantly longer serum half-life. In comparison, the non-PEGylated bivalent and tetravalent miniantibodies showed only a moderate increase in tumor localization compared with the scFv, which correlated with the degree of multimerization. However, these non-PEGylated formats resulted in higher tumor-to-blood ratios. Both multimerization and PEGylation represent thus useful strategies to tailor the pharmacokinetic properties of therapeutic antibodies and their combined use can additively improve tumor targeting.

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