Research Papers:

AGR2, a unique tumor-associated antigen, is a promising candidate for antibody targeting

Alvin Y. Liu, Adelle D. Kanan, Tomasz P. Radon, Siama Shah, Mark E. Weeks, Julie M. Foster, Jane K. Sosabowski, Laurent Dumartin and Tatjana Crnogorac-Jurcevic

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Oncotarget. 2019; 10:4276-4289. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.26945

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Alvin Y. Liu1, Adelle D. Kanan1, Tomasz P. Radon2, Siama Shah2, Mark E. Weeks2, Julie M. Foster2, Jane K. Sosabowski2, Laurent Dumartin2 and Tatjana Crnogorac-Jurcevic2

1 Department of Urology, Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

2 Centre for Molecular Oncology, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK

Correspondence to:

Alvin Y. Liu,email: [email protected]
Tatjana Crnogorac-Jurcevic,email: [email protected]

Keywords: pancreatic cancer; eAGR2; chimeric antibody; prostate cancer; tumor localization

Received: March 05, 2019     Accepted: April 21, 2019     Published: July 02, 2019


Anterior gradient 2 (AGR2), a protein disulfide isomerase, shows two subcellular localizations: intracellular (iAGR2) and extracellular (eAGR2). In healthy cells that express AGR2, the predominant form is iAGR2, which resides in the endoplasmic reticulum. In contrast, cancer cells secrete and express eAGR2 on the cell surface. We wanted to test if AGR2 is a cancer-specific tumor-associated antigen. We utilized two AGR2 antibodies, P3A5 and P1G4, for in vivo tumor localization and tumor growth inhibition. The monoclonal antibodies recognized both human AGR2 and mouse Agr2. Biodistribution experiments using a syngeneic mouse model showed high uptake of P3A5 AGR2 antibody in xenografted eAgr2+ pancreatic tumors, with limited uptake in normal tissues. In implanted human patient-derived eAGR2+ pancreatic cancer xenografts, tumor growth inhibition was evaluated with antibodies and Gemcitabine (Gem). Inhibition was more potent by P1G4 + Gem combination than Gem alone or P3A5 + Gem. We converted these two antibodies to human:mouse chimeric forms: the constructed P3A5 and P1G4 chimeric mVLhCκ and mVHhCγ (γ1, γ2, γ4) genes were inserted in a single mammalian expression plasmid vector, and transfected into human 293F cells. Expressed human:mouse chimeric IgG1, IgG2 and IgG4 antibodies retained AGR2 binding. Increase in IgG yield by transfected cells could be obtained with serial transfection of vectors with different drug resistance. These chimeric antibodies, when incubated with human blood, effectively lysed eAGR2+ PC3 prostate cancer cells. We have, thus, produced humanized anti-AGR2 antibodies that, after further testing, might be suitable for treatment against a variety of eAGR2+ solid tumors.

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