Optimally effective antitumor therapies would not only activate immune effector cells, but engage them at the tumor. Folate-conjugated to immunoglobulin (F-IgG) could direct innate immune cells with Fc receptors to folate receptor-expressing cancer cells. F-IgG bound to human KB and HeLa cells, as well as murine L1210JF, a folate receptor (FR) overexpressing cancer cell line, as determined by flow cytometry. Recognition of F-IgG by NK cell Fc receptors led to phosphorylation of the ERK transcription factor and increased NK cell expression of CD69. Lysis of KB tumor cells by NK cells increased about 5-fold after treatment with F-IgG, an effect synergistically enhanced by treatment with IL2, IL12, IL15, or IL21 (P < 0.001). F-IgG also enhanced the lysis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells by autologous NK cells. NK cells significantly increased production of IFNγ, MIP-1α, and RANTES in response to F-IgG-coated KB target cells in the presence of the NK cell-activating cytokine IL12, and these coculture supernatants induced significant T cell chemotaxis P < 0.001). F-IgG-coated targets also stimulated FcR-mediated monocyte effector functions. Studies in a murine leukemia model confirmed the intratumoral localization and antitumor activity of F-IgG, as well as enhancement of its effects by IL12 (P = 0.05). The antitumor effect of this combination was dependent on NK cells and led to decreased tumor cell proliferation in vivo. Thus, F-IgG can induce an immune response against FR-positive tumor cells that is mediated by NK cells and can be augmented by cytokine therapy.
- Received July 9, 2015.
- Revision received December 2, 2015.
- Accepted December 28, 2015.
- Copyright © 2016, American Association for Cancer Research.