Clin Cancer Res 2003 Dec;9(17):6560-6
Department of Cancer Biology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77054, USA.
Purpose: The melanoma cellular adhesion molecule, also known as MUC18, is highly expressed on several tumors, including bone sarcomas. The level of MUC18 expression has been found to correlate directly with tumor progression and metastatic potential. These observations have established MUC18 as a candidate mediator of tumor growth and metastasis, and suggest that blockade of MUC18 might be a potential target for immunotherapy against several MUC18-expressing tumors, including human bone sarcomas.
Experimental Design: To investigate whether blockade of MUC18 might be a potential target for immunotherapy against osteosarcoma, we have recently developed a fully human anti-MUC18 antibody, ABX-MA1. We studied the effect of ABX-MA1 on growth, adhesion, invasion, and metastasis of human osteosaroma cells both in vitro and in vivo.
Results: MUC18 was widely expressed on both osteosarcoma and Ewing's sarcoma cells. ABX-MA1 had no effect on the proliferation of osteosarcoma cells in vitro, nor did it significantly inhibit the growth of KRIB human osteosarcoma cells when they were orthotopically implanted into the tibias of nude mice. However, after 6 weeks, significantly fewer ABX-MA1-treated mice developed spontaneous pulmonary metastases than did IgG-treated control mice. Additionally, ABX-MA1 decreased the invasion of osteosarcoma cells through Matrigel-coated filters and disrupted homotypic adhesion between osteosarcoma cells and their heterotypic interaction with human vascular endothelial cells.
Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate that MUC18 plays a central role in the metastasis of osteosarcoma and suggest that targeted inhibition of this antigen by ABX-MA1 may be a novel immunotherapeutic approach in the management of this tumor.