Trastuzumab, a targeted anti-human epidermal-growth-factor receptor-2 (HER2) monoclonal antibody, represents a mainstay in the treatment of HER2-positive (HER2+) breast cancer. Although trastuzumab treatment is highly efficacious for early-stage HER2+ breast cancer, the majority of advanced-stage HER2+ breast cancer patients who initially respond to trastuzumab acquire resistance to treatment and relapse, despite persistence of HER2 gene amplification/overexpression. Here, we sought to leverage HER2 overexpression to engage antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis (ADCP) through a combination of trastuzumab and anti-CD47 macrophage checkpoint immunotherapy. We have previously shown that blockade of CD47, a surface protein expressed by many malignancies (including HER2+ breast cancer), is an effective anticancer therapy. CD47 functions as a "don't eat me" signal through its interaction with signal regulatory protein-alpha (SIRPalpha) on macrophages to inhibit phagocytosis. Hu5F9-G4 (magrolimab), a humanized monoclonal antibody against CD47, blocks CD47's "don't eat me" signal, thereby facilitating macrophage-mediated phagocytosis. Preclinical studies have shown that combining Hu5F9-G4 with tumor-targeting antibodies, such as rituximab, further enhances Hu5F9-G4's anticancer effects via ADCP. Clinical trials have additionally demonstrated that Hu5F9-G4, in combination with rituximab, produced objective responses in patients whose diffuse large B cell lymphomas had developed resistance to rituximab and chemotherapy. These studies led us to hypothesize that combining Hu5F9-G4 with trastuzumab would produce an anticancer effect in antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC)-tolerant HER2+ breast cancer. This combination significantly suppressed the growth of ADCC-tolerant HER2+ breast cancers via Fc-dependent ADCP. Our study demonstrates that combining trastuzumab and Hu5F9-G4 represents a potential new treatment option for HER2+ breast cancer patients, even for patients whose tumors have progressed after trastuzumab.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.2026849118
View details for PubMedID 34257155