Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a major cause of cancer-related death in Southeast Asia and China. Metastasis and relapse are the primary cause of morbidity and mortality in NPC. Recent evidence suggests that the Epstein-Barr virus latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) is exclusively expressed in most NPC and is a potential target for biotherapy. In this study, we successfully prepared a novel human antibody Fab (HLEAFab) against LMP1 extracellular domain, which was subsequently conjugated with mitomycin C (MMC), thus forming an immunoconjugate (HLEAFab-MMC). The effects of HLEAFab-MMC on proliferation and apoptosis in NPC cell lines HNE2/LMP1 and the inhibition rate of growth of NPC xenografts in nude mice were examined. The inhibition rate of HNE2/LMP1 cell proliferation was the highest for HLEAFab-MMC (76%) compared with MMC (31%) and HLEAFab (22%) at a concentration of 200 nmol/L and showed dose-dependent fashion. The apoptosis rate of HNE2/LMP1 cell lines was 13.88% in HLEAFab-MMC group, 3.04% in MMC group, 2.78% in HLEAFab group, and 2.10% in negative control group at the same concentration, respectively. In vivo, the inhibition rate of growth of NPC xenografts in nude mice was 55.1% in HLEAFab-MMC group, 26.5% in MMC group, and 5.64% in HLEAFab group. In summary, our findings show that HLEAFab-MMC is a unique immunoconjugate with the potential as a novel therapeutic agent in the treatment of LMP1-expressing NPC.
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