Uterine serous papillary adenocarcinoma (USPC) is a highly aggressive variant of endometrial cancer. Human immuno-conjugate molecule (hI-con1) is an antibody-like molecule targeted against tissue factor (TF), composed of two human Factor VII (fVII) as the targeting domain, fused to human immunoglobulin (Ig) G1 Fc as an effector domain. We evaluated hI-con1 potential activity against primary chemotherapy-resistant USPC cell lines expressing different levels of TF. A total of 16 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded USPC samples were evaluated by immunohistochemistry (IHC) for TF expression. Six primary USPC cell lines, half of which overexpress the epidermal growth factor type II (HER2/neu) receptor at 3+ levels, were assessed by flow cytometry and real-time PCR for TF expression. Sensitivity to hI-con1-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (IDCC) was evaluated in 5-hour-chromium release assays. Finally, to investigate the effect of interleukin-2 (IL-2) on IDCC, 5-h (51)Cr assays were also conducted in the presence of low doses of IL-2 (i.e., 50-100 IU ml(-1)). Cytoplasmic and/or membrane TF expression was observed in all 16 (100%) USPC samples tested by IHC, but not in normal endometrium. High expression of TF was found in 50% (three out of six) of the USPC cell lines tested by real-time PCR and flow cytometry when compared with normal endometrial cells (NECs; P<0.001). Uterine serous papillary adenocarcinoma cell lines overexpressing TF, regardless of their high or low HER2/neu expression, were highly sensitive to IDCC (mean killing+/-s.d., 65.6+/-3.7%, range 57.5-77.0%, P<0.001), although negligible cytotoxicity against USPC was seen in the absence of hI-con1 or in the presence of Rituximab control antibody. The addition of low doses of IL-2 further increased the cytotoxic effect induced by hI-con1 against chemotherapy-resistant USPC. hI-con1 induces strong cytotoxicity against primary chemotherapy-resistant USPC cell lines overexpressing TF. The hI-con1 may represent a novel therapeutic agent for the treatment of patients harbouring advanced, recurrent and/or metastatic USPC refractory to standard treatment modalities.
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