A scDb-based trivalent bispecific antibody for T-cell-mediated killing of HER3-expressing cancer cells
Nadine Aschmoneit, Sophia Steinlein, Lennart Kühl, Oliver Seifert & Roland E. Kontermann
HER3 is a member of the EGF receptor family and elevated expression is associated with cancer progression and therapy resistance. HER3-specific T-cell engagers might be a suitable treatment option to circumvent the limited efficacy observed for HER3-blocking antibodies in clinical trials. In this study, we developed bispecific antibodies for T-cell retargeting to HER3-expressing tumor cells, utilizing either a single-chain diabody format (scDb) with one binding site for HER3 and one for CD3 on T-cells or a trivalent bispecific scDb-scFv fusion protein exhibiting an additional binding site for HER3. The scDb-scFv showed increased binding to HER3-expressing cancer cell lines compared to the scDb and consequently more effective T-cell activation and T-cell proliferation. Furthermore, the bivalent binding mode of the scDb-scFv for HER3 translated into more potent T-cell mediated cancer cell killing, and allowed to discriminate between moderate and low HER3-expressing target cells. Thus, our study demonstrated the applicability of HER3 for T-cell retargeting with bispecific antibodies, even at moderate expression levels, and the increased potency of an avidity-mediated specificity gain, potentially resulting in a wider safety window of bispecific T-cell engaging antibodies targeting HER3.