Antibody-directed enzyme prodrug therapy (ADEPT) has displayed antitumor activity in animal models and clinical trials. We examined whether antitumor immunity is generated during ADEPT by employing an immunoenzyme composed of the monoclonal antibody (MAb) RHI conjugated to β-glucuronidase to target rat AS-30D hepatocellular carcinoma tumors. A glucuronide prodrug of p-hydroxyaniline mustard was used to treat malignant ascites after immunoenzyme localization at the cancer cells. ADEPT cured more than 96% of Sprague-Dawley rats bearing advanced malignant ascites, and all cured rats were protected from a lethal challenge of AS-30D cells. Immunization with radiation-killed AS-30D cells or AS-30D cells coated with immunoenzyme did not provide tumor protection. Likewise, ex vivo treatment of tumor cells by ADEPT before injection into rats did not protect against a tumor challenge. AS-30D and NI-SI hepatocellular carcinoma cells but not unrelated syngeneic tumor cells were lysed by peritoneal exudate cells isolated from ADEPT-cured rats. Depletion of CD8+ but not CD4+ T cells or natural killer (NK) cells reduced the cytolytic activity of peritoneal lymphocytes. ADEPT did not cure tumor-bearing rats depleted of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells even though it was curative when given 7 days after tumor transplantation in rats with an intact immune system, indicating that ADEPT can synergize with host immunity to increase therapeutic efficacy. These results have important implications for the clinical application of ADEPT.
- Hepatocellular carcinoma