Production and validation of the pharmacokinetics of a single-chain Fv fragment of the MGR6 antibody for targeting of tumors expressing HER-2

Fabio Turatti, Delia Mezzanzanica, Elena Nardini, Elena Luison, Lorenzo Maffioli, Emilio Bombardieri, Claudia De Lalla, Silvana Canevari, Mariangela Figini

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The HER-2 antigen, which is overexpressed in many breast carcinomas, is an ideal target for monoclonal antibodies due to its low expression in normal tissue and its homogeneous distribution in the tumor mass. We have developed and characterized the murine MAb MGR6 against HER-2, which is able to inhibit proliferation of tumor cells overexpressing HER-2. On the basis of these preclinical results, phase I studies in breast carcinoma patients were conducted and radiolocalization data indicated an antibody half life which directly paralleled that of other whole antibodies and thus resulting in a limited in vivo diagnostic capacity. To obtain a smaller reagent with possibly improved in vivo properties, a single chain variable fragment (scFv) of the original MGR6-producing hybridoma was generated by phage display technology. Biologically active MGR6 scFv was purified rapidly and at high yield by metal affinity chromatography. Competition FACS and ELISA analyses identified an epitope on the HER-2 extracellular domain that was shared by the scFv and the parental MAb. BIAcore analysis indicated a Koff of 9.3 × 10-4 s-1, similar to that of the intact MGR6 MAb. Distribution and elimination half-lives of MGR6 scFv, calculated from in vivo preclinical evaluations, were much faster (13 min and 6.2 h, respectively than previously published results for the intact MAb (mean t1/2β of 46 h). This represents a theoretical improvement in pharmacokinetics with respect to the parental murine MAb and points to the potential for utilizing this fragment in redirecting therapeutic agents, such as radio-isotopes, to different human carcinomas overexpressing HER-2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-686
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • HER-2
  • Phage display
  • Single-chain Fv

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Immunology
  • Oncology


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