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Monoclonal anti-human breast cancer antibodies


Murine monoclonal antibodies, or fragments thereof, that bind selectively to human breast cancer cells, are IgGs or IgMs, and when conjugated to ricin A chain, exhibit a TCID 50% against at least one of MCF-7, CAMA-1, SKBR-3, or BT-20 cells of less than about 10 nM. Methods for diagnosing, monitoring, and treating human breast cancer with the antibodies or immunotoxins made therefrom are described.


What is claimed is:

1. A monoclonal antibody that binds specifically to a monomeric 210 kD protein present in cancerous breast tissue.

2. A monoclonal antibody as described in claim 1, wherein said antibody is selected from the group consisting of 454C11 (ATTC No. HB8484), 452F2 (ATTC No. HB10811), 520C9 (ATTC No. HB8696), and 741F8 (ATTC No. HB10807).

3. A monoclonal antibody as described in claim 2, wherein said antibody has an association constant of about 4.8.times.10.sup.7.

4. A monoclonal antibody as described in claim 2, wherein said antibody has an association constant of about 8.2.times.10.sup.6.



This invention is in the fields of immunology and cancer diagnosis and therapy. More particularly, it concerns murine monoclonal anti-human breast cancer antibodies, hybridomas that produce those antibodies, immunochemicals made from those antibodies, and diagnostic and therapeutic methods that use those immunochemicals.

2. Background Art

Since the mid-1970's, there have been numerous reports of murine monoclonal antibodies that interact with human breast cancer associated antigens. In these reported studies, mice were immunized and boosted with human milk fat globule proteins, breast cancer cell lines or breast cancer membrane extracts. Immune splenocytes were fused with mouse myeloma cells and hybridomas were selected based on some specificity of the culture media for breast or breast cancer antigens. Taylor-Papaddimitriou, J. et al., Int. J. Cancer (1981) 28:17-21; Yuan, D., et al., JNCI (1982) 68:719-728; Ciocca, D. R., et al., Cancer Res. (1982) 42:4256-4258. The normal tissue activities of these prior antibodies are different than the normal tissue reactivities of the antibodies of the present invention.

Numerous prior workers have suggested or reported linking cytotoxic agents or antibodies to make "immunotoxins". Recent interest has centered on immunotoxins of monoclonal antibodies conjugated to the enzymatically active portions (A chains) of toxins of bacterial or plant origin via heterobifunctional agents. Neveill, D. M. and Youle, R. J. Immunol. Rev. (1982) 62:75-91; Ross, W. C. J., et al., European J. Biochem, (1980) 104; Vitteta, E. S., et al., Immunol. Rev. (9182) 62:158-183; Raso, V.,, et al., Cancer Res. (1982) 42:457-464; Trowbridge, I. W. and Domingo, D. L., Nature(Cond) (1981) 294:171-173.


A principal aspect of the invention concerns murine monoclonal antibodies that:

(a) bind selectively to human breast cancer cells;

(b) are IgGs or IgMs;

(c) when conjugated to rich A chain exhibit a TCID 50% of less than about 10 mM against at least one of MCF-7, CAMA-1, SKBR-3, or BT-20 cells.

Preferred embodiments of these antibodies are those designated 260F9, 113F1, 2G3, 280D11, 266B2, 33F8, 245E7, 454C11, 317G5, 520C9, and 369F10, and functional equivalents thereof.

The murine x murine hybridomas that produce the above described antibodies and progeny of those hybridomas are other aspects of the invention.

Another aspect of the invention relates to immunotoxins that are conjugates of

(a) the above described monoclonal antibodies, and

(b) a cytotoxic moiety.

Another aspect of the invention concerns labeled derivatives of the above described monoclonal antibodies that are labeled with a detectable label that permits the derivatives to be used in diagnosing or monitoring human breast cancer.

Another aspect of the invention concerns a method of killing human breast cancer cells by contacting the cells with a cytocidally effective amount of one or more of the above described immunotoxins.

Other aspects of the invention are direct and indirect immunoassays for determining whether a human cell is a breast cancer cell. These assays involve incubating the cells with the monoclonal antibodies or labeled derivatives thereof. When the labeled derivatives are used, the presence of labeled binary immune complexes on the cells is read directly. When unlabeled antibody is used the cells are further incubated with a labeled antibody against monoclonal antibody and the presence of labeled ternary immune complexes on the cells is read.


As used herein, the term "monoclonal antibody" means an antibody composition having a homogeneous antibody population. It is not intended to be limited as regards to the source of the antibody or the manner in which it is made.

As used herein with respect to the exemplified murine monoclonal anti-human breast cancer antibodies, the term "functional equivalent" means a monoclonal antibody, fragments thereof, or any molecule having the antigen binding site of the monoclonal antibody that: (a) crossbacks an exemplified monoclonal antibody; (b) binds selectively to human breast cancer cells; (c) has a G or M isotope; (d) binds to the same antigen as determined by immunoprecipitation or sandwich immunoassay; and (e) when conjugated to ricin A chain, exhibits a TCID 50% against at least one of MCF-7, CAMA-1, SKBR-3, or BT-20 cells of less than about 10 mM.

Antibody fragments include the Fab, Fab', and F(ab').sub.2 regions, or derivatives or combinations thereof. Fab, Fab', and F(ab').sub.2 regions of an immunoglobin may be generated by enzymatic digestion of the monoclonal antibodies using techniques well known to those skilled in the art. Fab fragments may be generated by digesting the monoclonal antibody with papain and contacting the digest with a reducing agent to reductively cleave disulfide bonds. Fab' fragments may be obtained by digesting the antibody with pepsin and reductive cleavage of the fragment so produce with a reducing agent. In the absence of reductive cleavage, enzymatic digestion of the monoclonal with pepsin produces F(ab').sub.2 fragments.

It will further be appreciated that encompassed within the definition of monoclonal antibody is single chain antibody that can be generated as described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,704,692, as well as hybrid antibodies described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 474,893 and by Munroe, (1984) Nature 312:597; Morrison, S. L. (1985) Science 229:1202 and Oi, et al. (1986) Biotechniques 4:214. Particularly useful hybrid antibodies are "humanized" antibodies made as described in European Patent Application No. 302,620.These publications are hereby incorporated by reference.

As used herein with regard to the monoclonal antibody-producing hybridomas of the invention, the term "progeny" is intended to include all derivatives, issue, and offspring of the parent hybridoma that produce the monoclonal anti-human breast cancer antibody produced by the parent, regardless of generation of karyotypic identify.

Monoclonal Antibody Production

The antibody-producing fusion partners that are used to make the hybridomas of this invention are generated by immunizing mice with live human breast cancer cells or membrane extracts made therefrom. The mice are inoculated intraperitoneally with an immunogenic amount of the cells or extract and then boosted with similar amounts of the immunogen. Spleens are collected from the immunized mice a few days after the final boost and a cell suspension is prepared therefrom for use in the fusion.

Hybridomas are prepared from the spenocytes and a murine tumor partner using the general somatic cell hybridization technique of Kohler, B. and Milstein, C., Nature (1975) 256:495-497 as modified by Buck, D. W., et al., In Vitro (1982) 18:377-381. Available murine myeloma lines, such as those from the Salk Institute, Cell Distribution Center, San Diego, Calif., USA, may be used in the hybridization. Basically, the technique involves fusing the tumor cells and splenocytes using a fusogen such a polyethylene glycol, or by electrical means well known to those skilled in the art. After the fusion the cells are separated from the fusion medium and grown in a selective growth medium, such as HAT medium, to eliminate unhybridized parent cells. The hybridomas are expanded, if desired, and supernatants are assayed for antihuman breast cancer activity by conventional immunoassay procedures (e.g., radioimmunoassay, enzynme immunoassay, or fluoroescence immunoassay) using the immunizing agent (breast cancer cells or membrane extract) as antigen. Positive clones are characterized further to determine whether they meet the criteria of the invention antibodies.

Hybridomas that produce such antibodies may be grown in vitro or in vivo using known procedures. The monoclonal antibodies may be isolated from the culture media or body fluids, as the case may be, by conventional immunoglobulin purification procedures such as ammonium sulfate precipitation, gel electrophoresis, dialysis, chromatography, and ultrafiltration, if desired.

Monoclonal Antibody Selection/Characterization

The important characteristics of the monoclonal antibodies are (1) their immunoglobulin class, (2) their selectivity for human breast cancer cells and the range of human breast cancer cells to which they bind and (3) their usefulness in making effective anti-human breast cancer immunotoxins.

The selectivity and range of a given antibody is determined by testing it against panels of (1) human breast cancer tissues and cells and (2) normal human tissues or cells of breast or other origin. In selecting the claimed antibodies approximately twenty-two thousand growing hybridoma cultures were initially screened against the immunizing breast tumor membranes, a fibroblast cell line and a breast tumor frozen section. Clones that reacted with the neoplastic materials but not the normal materials were identified in this initial screen and chosen for isotyping and additional screening for selectivity and range. The additional screening involved: sixteen normal tissue sections, five normal blood cell types, eleven nonbreast neoplasm sections, twenty-one breast cancer sections and fourteen breast cancer cell lines. Antibodies were deemed to bind selectively to breast cancer if they bound strongly to less than about 1/3 of the normal tissues and blood cell types. One hundred twenty-seven antibodies were purified and tested on the additional screen.

Antibodies exhibiting acceptable selectivity and range were conjugated to ricin A chain using N-succinimidyl-3-(2-pyridyldithio)propionate (SPDP) or iminothiolane (IT) as a coupling agent. The conjugates were tested against MCF-7, CAMA-1, SKBR-3, and BT-20 cells in a 24-hour tissue culture assay. Sixteen of the antibodies exhibited acceptable immunotoxin activity (TCID 50% of less than 10 nM) against at least one of these breast tumor lines. Seven of the sixteen were found to recognize the same 210,000 dalton antigen, with six of the seven probably recognizing the same epitope but differing in affinity.

Further details of the characterization of these antibodies are provided in the examples below.


The immunochemical derivatives of the monoclonal antibodies of this invention that are of prime importance are immunotoxins (conjugates of the antibody and a cytotoxic moiety) and labeled (e.g., radiolabeled, enzymelabeled, or fluorochrome-labeled) derivatives in which the label provides a means for identifying immune complexes that include the labeled antibody.

The cytotoxic moiety of the immunotoxins may be a cytotoxic drug or an enzymatically active toxin of bacterial or plant origin, or an enzymatically active fragment ("A chain") of such a toxin. Enzymatically active toxins and fragments thereof are preferred and are exemplified by diptheria A chain, nonbinding active fragments of diphtheria toxin, exotoxin A chain (from Pseudomonas aeruginosa), ricin A chain, abrin A chain, modeccin A chain, alpha-sarcin, Aleurites fordii proteins, dianthin proteins, Phytolacca americana proteins (PAPI, PAPII, and PAP-S), momordica charantia inhibitor, curcin, crotin, saponaria officinalis inhibitor, gelonin, mitogellin, restrictocin, phenomycin, and enomycin. Ricin A chain, nonbinding active fragments of diptheria toxin, abrin A chain, and PAPII are preferred. Conjugates of the monoclonal antibody and such cytotoxic moieties may be made using a variety of bifunctional protein coupling agents. Examples of such reagents are SPDP, IT, bifunctional derivatives of imidoesters such as dimethyl adipimidate. HCl, active esters such as disuccinimidyl suberate, aldehydes such as glutaraldehyde, bis-azido compounds such as bis(p-azidobenzoyl) hxanediamine, bis-diazonium derivaties such as bis-(p-diazoniumbenzoyl)-ethylenediamine, diisocyanates such as tolylene 2,6-diisocyanate, and bis-active fluorine compounds such as 1,5-difluoro-2,4-dinitrobenzene.

When used to kill human breast cancer cells in vitro for diagnostic purposes, the conjugates will typically be added to the cell culture medium at a concentration of at least about 10 nM. The formulation and mode of administration for in vitro use are not critical. Aqueous formulations that are compatible with the culture or perfusion medium will normally be used. Cytotoxicity may be ready by conventional techniques to determine the presence or degree of breast cancer.

When used in vivo for therapy, the immunotoxins are administered to the patient in therapeutically effective amounts (i.e., amounts that eliminate or reduce the patient's tumor burden). They will normally be administered parenterally, preferably intravenously, although other routes may be employed and even preferred depending on the nature and site of the tumor (i.e., intratumoral administration). The dose and dosage regimen will depend upon the nature of the cancer (primary or metastatic) and is population, the characteristics of the particular immunotoxin, e.g., it therapeutic index, the patient, and the patient's history. The amount of immunotoxin administered will typically be in the range of about 0.1 to about 10 mg/kg of patient weight.

For parenteral administration the immunotoxins will be formulated in a unit dosage injectable form (solution, suspension, emulsion) in associated with a pharmaceutically acceptable parenteral vehicle. Such vehicles are inherently nontoxic and nontherapeutic. Examples of such vehicles are water, saline, Ringer's solution, dextrose solution, and 5% human serum albumin. Nonaqueous vehicles such as fixed oils and ethyl oleate may also be used. Liposomes may be used as carriers. The vehicles may contain minor amounts of additives such as substances that enhance isotonicity and chemical stability, e.g., buffers and preservatives. The immunotoxins will typically be formulated in such vehicles at concentrations of about 1mg/ml to 10 mg/ml.

Cytotoxic radiopharmaceuticals for treating breast cancer may be made by conjugating high linear energy transfer (LET) emitting isotopes (e.g., Y, Pr) to the antibodies. The term "cytotoxic moiety" as used herein as intended to include such isotopes.

The labels that are used in making labeled versions of the antibodies include moieties that may be detected directly, such as fluorochromes and radiolabeled, as well as moieties, such as enzymes, that must be reacted or derivatized to be detected. Examples of such labels are .sup.32 P, .sup.125 I, .sup.3 H, .sup.14 C, fluorescein and its derivatives, rhodamine and its derivatives, dansyl, umbelliferone, luciferia, 2,3-dihydrophthalazinediones, horseradish peroxidase, alkaline phosphatase lysozyme, and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase. The antibodies may be tagged with such labels by known methods. For instance, coupling agents such as aldehydes, carbodiimides, dimaleimide, imidates, succinimides, bis-diazotized benzidine and the like may be used to tag the antibodies with the above-described fluorescent, chemiluminescent, and enzyme labels.

The antibodies and labeled antibodies may be used in a variety of immunoimaging or immunoassay procedures to detect the presence of breast cancer in a patient or monitor the status of such cancer in a patient already diagnosed to have it. When used to monitor the status of a caner a quantitative immunoassay procedure may be used. Such monitoring assays are carried out periodically and the results compared to determine whether the patient's tumor burden has increased or decreased. Common assay techniques that may be used include direct and indirect assays. Direct assays involve incubating a tissue sample or cells from the patient with a labeled antibody. If the sample includes breast cancer cells, the labeled antibody will bind to those cells. After washing the tissue or cells to remove unbound labeled antibody, the tissue sample is read for the presence of labeled immune complexes. In indirect assays the tissue or cell sample is incubated with unlabeled monoclonal antibody. The sample is then treated with a labeled second antibody (or antibody fragment) against the monoclonal antibody (e.g., a labeled antimurine antibody or fragment), washed, and read for the presence of labeled ternary complexes.

For diagnostic use the antibodies will typically be distributed in kit form. These kits will typically comprise: the antibody in labeled or unlabeled form in suitable containers, reagents for the incubations and washings, a labeled antimurine antibody if the kit is for an indirect assay, and substrates or derivatizing agents depending on the nature of the label. Human breast cancer antigen controls and instructions may also be included.

The following examples provide a detailed description of the preparation, characterization, and use of representative monoclonal antibodies of this invention. These examples are not intended to limit the invention in any manner.


Fresh postsurgical human breast cancer tissue and a variety of normal tissues were used to prepare membrane extracts by Polytron homogenization and discontinuous suscrose gradient centrifugation. Human breast cancer cell lines were obtained from the Breast Caner Task Force, the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC), and from Dr. Jorgen Fogh at Memorial Sloan Kettering. The cells were maintained and passaged as recommended by the Breast Cancer Task Force, the ATCC and Dr. Fogh. For immunizations, either membrane extract containing 100 .mu.g of protein (Lowry assay) or ten million live breast cancer cells were inoculated intraperitoneally into five week old Balb/c mice. The mice were boosted identically twice at monthly intervals. Three days after the 1st boost, the spleens were removed for cell fusion.

Hybridoma Methods

Hybridoma supernatant was assayed for reactive antibody in either a solid phase enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) with the immunizing breast cancer membrane extract or an indirect immunofluorescence assay with the immunizing breast cancer cell line. For the solid phase membrane ELISA, 40 .mu.l of 0.1 mg/ml breast cancer membrane protein were placed in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) microtiter wells (Dynatech, Inc.) for 12 hours at C. The extract was aspirated and the wells washed with phosphate buffered saline (PBS) containing 1% bovine serum albumin (BSA). The wells were the incubated with 45 .mu.l of a 1:10 dilution of hybridoma supernatant. The diluent was RPMI 1640 media with 25 mM Hepes, 10% bovine serum, and 0.1% sodium azide. After 30 minutes at room temperature, the wells were again washed and incubated 45 minutes at C. with a 1:200 dilution of peroxidase conjugated goat anti-mouse IgG (Zymed, Inc.). The diluent was PBS. The wells were then washed with PBS and reacted with 200 .mu. l of 2,2-azino-di(3-ethylbenzthiazoline supphonic acid) in 0. 1sodium citrate buffer pH 4.2 for 30 minutes at room temperature. Optical density was measured at 405 mm on a MicroElisa Reader (Dynatech, Inc.). For each experiment a positive control, anti-beta 2 microglobulin at 5 .mu.g/ml (Becton Dickinson, Inc.), was reacted with normal human kidney membrane. This gave an optical density of 1.0.+-.0.1 (standard deviation). The background was 0.+-.0.1 optical density units (O.D.) using media without mouse monoclonal antibody. Wells that gave a reaction on the breast cancer membrane extract of greater than 0.7 O.D. were saved. For the indirect immunofluorescence cell line assay was placed one hundred thousand breast cancer cells of the immunizing cell line overnight with appropriate media in each chamber of a set of eight chambered slides (Lab-tek, Inc.). Similarly, one hundred thousand fibroblast cells from cell line CC05 were incubated overnight in chambered slide wells. The cells were washed with PBS containing 1% BSA (Miles, Inc.). The wells, both breast cancer and fibroblast, were incubated 30 minutes at C. with a 1:50 dilution of fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-conjugated goat F(ab').sub.2 anti-mouse Ig (Zymed, Inc.). The cells were washed three times, fixed in 1.5% formaldehyde in PBS for five minutes, chambers removed and rinsed in PBS. The slides were then mounted in Aguamount (Lenex Lab) and examined with a Laborlus 12 fluorescence microscope (Leitz, Inc.) Hybridoma wells showing strong fluorescent binding to breast cancer cells but no fluorescent binding to fibroblasts were saved. Five thousand one hundred fifty-six hybridoma wells revealed breast cancer reactivity in the initial screen.

Supernatants from the 5156 positive wells were then tested in solid phase ELISA with eight normal tissue membrane extracts (liver, lung, colon, stomach, kidney, tonsil, spleen and pancrease). Any well supernatant giving an ELISA O.D. greater than 0.3 was discarded. One thousand one hundred one of the supernatants were found to be unreactive with the normal tissue extracts.

The 1101 hybridoma supernatants were tested on frozen sections of human breast carcinoma tissues. Six micron sections were attached to slide, fixed 10 minutes in acetone at C., dried 10 minutes at room temperature, washed with PBS, blocked with horse serum and incubated 20 minutes at room temperature with 200 .mu.l neat hybridoma supernatant. The slides were washed with PBS, and finally incubated 20 minutes at C. with a 1:50 dilution of peroxidase conjugated rabbit anti-mouse Ig (Tago, Inc.), washed again with PBS, and finally incubated 7.5 minutes at C. with 0.5 mg/ml diaminobenzidine (Sigma, Inc.) in 0.05 M Tris buffer pH 7.2 containing 0.01% hydrogen peroxide (Fisher, Inc.). The slides were stained with hematoxylin, dehydrated and mounted in Permount (Fisher, Inc.). One hundred twenty-four wells yielded breast cancer selective binding and were cloned.

Purification and Class Determination

Immunoglobulin class and subclass of the monoclonal breast cancer selective antibodies were determined. Antibodies were also internally labeled by growing 2-3.times.10.sub.6 hybridoma cells for four hours in methionine-free medium containing 0.2 .mu.Ci .sup.35 S methionine (New England Nuclear). .sup.35 S-labeled antibodies were immunoprecipitated with fixed staphylococcus A cells (IgSorb, The Enzyme Center) or with IgSorb pre-coated with rabbit anti-mouse immunoglobulin (Zymed), and the imnmunoprecipitates were analyzed by SDS-PAGE to determine antibody light and heavy chain mobility, lack of extra chains, and the ability of each antibody to bind staphylococcal protein A.

The antibodies were expanded in vivo. Balb/c or F1 (C578/6.times.Balb/c) mice were primed with 0.5 ml pristine intraperitoneally (ip) and after 10-14 days inoculated with one million log phase hybridoma cells in PBS. Ascites fluid was stored at C. and thawed and filtered through a 0.8 micron Millex filter unit before further purification.

IgG antibodies that bound staphylooccal protein A were purified by affinity chromatography on protein A-sepharose (Pharmacia) with pH step gradient elution. IgG antibodies that did not bind protein A were precipitated by addition of ammonium sulfate to 40% saturation at C. The precipitates were redissolved in PBS, dialysed to 20 mM Tris pH 7.2 and chromatographed on a 1.6.times.50 cm column of diethylaminoethyl cellulose (DEAE) Affi-Gel Blue (BioRad) eluting with a 1.5 liter (0-600 mM NaCl gradient at C. at a flow rate of 1 ml/min. In each case, column fractions were monitored by SDS-PAGE and the purest antibody fractions were pooled, concentrated to 1-3 mg/ml, dialysed to PBS/0.02% NaN.sub.3, and stored at C.

IgM antibodies were purified by gel filtration on a 2.6.times.40 cm column of Sephacryl S-300 (Pharmacia) eluting with PBS/0.01% sodium azide at room temperature at a flow rate of 1 ml/min.

Selectivity Determination

In order to evaluate their selectivity for breast cancer, the purified antibodies were tested by immunoperoxidase section staining on sections of sixteen normal tissues, and by immunofluorescent cell sorting on five blood cell types. Immunoperoxidase staining was performed as above except that known dilutions of purified antibodies in PBS in the range of 1-40 .mu.g/ml were used instead of hybridoma supernatants. The pure antibodies were first titrated to find the minimal concentration giving strong immunoperoxidase staining on breast cancer sections and then used at that concentration for the normal tissue tests. Peripheral blood cells (platelets, lymphocytes, red blood cells, granulocytes, and monocytes) were prepared by centrifugation using Mono-Poly Resolving Medium (Flow Laboratories), Inc.). The cells were reacted with antibody at the optimal concentration determined above for 30 minutes at C., washed, reacted with a 1:50 dilution of FITC-conjugated goat anti-mouse Ig (Tago, Inc.) for 30 minutes at C., washed again and examined in an EPICS cell sorter (Coulter Electronics, Inc.). The buffer and diluents were PBS with 1% gelatin and 0.02% sodium azide. The EPICS V was equipped with a 76 micron nozzle and a one watt argon ion laser at 488 nm. An 80 mm confocal lens was used on the optical rail assembly for focusing. Other filters used were a 515 nm interference filter and a 515 mm absorbance filter (for scattered laser light) and a neutral density 1.5 filter (Melles Griot) for forward angle light scatter. Contour plots of log fluorescein fluorescence versus forward angle light scatter were used for sample analysis.

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