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Evers, Mitchell; Roesner, Thies; Duenkel, Anna; Jansen, J. H. Marco; Baumann, Niklas; Ten Broeke, Toine; Nederend, Maaike; Eichholz, Klara; Klausz, Katja; Reiding, Karli; Schewe, Denis M.; Kellner, Christian; Peipp, Matthias; Leusen, Jeanette H. W. and Valerius, Thomas (2021): The selection of variable regions affects effector mechanisms of IgA antibodies against CD20. In: Blood Advances, Vol. 5, No. 19: pp. 3807-3820

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Blockade of the CD47-SIRPa axis improves lymphoma cell killing by myeloid effector cells, which is an important effector mechanism for CD20 antibodies in vivo. The approved CD20 antibodies rituximab, ofatumumab, and obinutuzumab are of human immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) isotype. We investigated the impact of the variable regions of these 3 CD20 antibodies when expressed as human IgA2 isotype variants. All 3 IgA2 antibodies mediated antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis (ADCP) by macrophages and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) by polymorphonuclear cells. Both effector mechanisms were significantly enhanced in the presence of a CD47-blocking antibody or by glutaminyl cyclase inhibition to interfere with CD47-SIRP alpha interactions. Interestingly, an IgA2 variant of obinutuzumab (OBI-IgA2) was consistently more potent than an IgA2 variant of rituximab (RTX-IgA2) or an IgA2 variant of ofatumumab (OFA-IgA2) in triggering ADCC. Furthermore, we observed more effective direct tumor cell killing by OBI-IgA2 compared with RTX-IgA2 and OFA-IgA2, which was caspase independent and required a functional cytoskeleton. IgA2 variants of all 3 antibodies triggered complement-dependent cytotoxicity, with OBIIgA2 being less effective than RTX-IgA2 and OFA-IgA2. When we investigated the therapeutic efficacy of the CD20 IgA2 antibodies in different in vivo models, OBI-IgA2 was therapeutically more effective than RTX-IgA2 or OFA-IgA2. In vivo efficacy required the presence of a functional IgA receptor on effector cells and was independent of complement activation or direct lymphoma cell killing. These data characterize the functional activities of human IgA2 antibodies against CD20, which were affected by the selection of the respective variable regions. OBI-IgA2 proved particularly effective in vitro and in vivo, which may be relevant in the context of CD47-SIRP alpha blockade.

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