Cancer Res 2006 Sep;66(18):9162-70
Department of Tumor Biology, ImClone Systems, Inc, New York, NY 10014, USA.
RON is a member of the c-MET receptor tyrosine kinase family. Like c-MET, RON is expressed by a variety of epithelial-derived tumors and cancer cell lines and it is thought to play a functional role in tumorigenesis. To date, antagonists of RON activity have not been tested in vivo to validate RON as a potential cancer target. In this report, we used an antibody phage display library to generate IMC-41A10, a human immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) antibody that binds with high affinity (ED50 = 0.15 nmol/L) to RON and effectively blocks interaction with its ligand, macrophage-stimulating protein (MSP; IC50 = 2 nmol/L). We found IMC-41A10 to be a potent inhibitor of receptor and downstream signaling, cell migration, and tumorigenesis. It antagonized MSP-induced phosphorylation of RON, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), and AKT in several cancer cell lines. In HT-29 colon, NCI-H292 lung, and BXPC-3 pancreatic cancer xenograft tumor models, IMC-41A10 inhibited tumor growth by 50% to 60% as a single agent, and in BXPC-3 xenografts, it led to tumor regressions when combined with Erbitux. Western blot analyses of HT-29 and NCI-H292 xenograft tumors treated with IMC-41A10 revealed a decrease in MAPK phosphorylation compared with control IgG-treated tumors, suggesting that inhibition of MAPK activity may be required for the antitumor activity of IMC-41A10. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that a RON antagonist and specifically an inhibitory antibody of RON negatively affects tumorigenesis. Another major contribution of this report is an extensive analysis of RON expression in approximately 100 cancer cell lines and approximately 300 patient tumor samples representing 10 major cancer types. Taken together, our results highlight the potential therapeutic usefulness of RON activity inhibition in human cancers.