Monoclonal antibodies against IREM-1: Potential for targeted therapy of AML
Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute
IREM-1 is an inhibitory cell surface receptor with an unknown function and is expressed on myeloid cell lineages, including cell lines derived from acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients. We have generated a series of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against the extracellular domain of IREM-1 and further assessed its expression in normal and AML cells. IREM-1 was restricted to cells from myeloid origin and extensive expression analysis in primary cells obtained from AML patients showed IREM-1 expression in leukemic blasts of 72% (39/54) of samples. We therefore searched for specific IREM-1 mAbs with activity in functional complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC) and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). Lead mAbs against IREM-1 showed specific cytotoxic activity against a variety of AML-derived cell lines and freshly isolated blasts from AML patients. Internalization of mAbs upon IREM-1 binding was also shown. In vivo anticancer activity of lead mAbs was observed in an established HL-60 xenograft model with a tumor growth delay of up to 40% and in a model using primary human AML cells, where treatment with anti-IREM-1 mAb resulted in a significant reduction of engrafted human cells. These results demonstrate IREM-1 as a potential novel target for immunotherapy of AML.