Metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is an aggressive disease refractory to most existing therapeutic modalities. Identifying new markers for disease progression and drug targets for RCC will benefit this unmet medical need. We report a subset of clear cell and papillary cell RCC aberrantly expressing the lymphocyte activation marker CD70, a member of the tumor necrosis factor superfamily. Importantly, CD70 expression was found to be maintained at the metastatic sites of RCC. Anti-CD70 antibody-drug conjugates (ADC) consisting of auristatin phenylalanine phenylenediamine (AFF) or monomethyl auristatin phenylalanine (MMAF), two novel derivatives of the anti-tubulin agent auristatin, mediated potent antigen-dependent cytotoxicity in CD70-expressing RCC cells. Cytotoxic activity of these anti-CD70 ADCs was associated with their internalization and subcellular trafficking through the endosomal-lysosomal pathway, disruption of cellular microtubule network, and G2-M phase cell cycle arrest. The efficiency of drug delivery using anti-CD70 as vehicle was illustrated by the much enhanced cytotoxicity of antibody-conjugated MMAF compared with free MMAF. Hence, ADCs targeted to CD70 can selectively recognize RCC, internalize, and reach the appropriate subcellular compartment(s) for drug release and tumor cell killing. In vitro cytotoxicity of these ADCs was confirmed in xenograft models using RCC cell lines. Our findings provide evidence that CD70 is an attractive target for antibody-based therapeutics against metastatic RCC and suggest that anti-CD70 ADCs can provide a new treatment approach for advanced RCC patients who currently have no chemotherapeutic options.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research