Cancer-stroma targeting therapy by cytotoxic immunoconjugate bound to the collagen 4 network in the tumor tissue

Masahiro Yasunaga, Shino Manabe, David Tarin, Yasuhiro Matsumura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


Some cytotoxic immunoconjugates have been approved for malignant lymphoma, a representative of hypervascular and stroma-poor tumors. However, many human solid tumors possess abundant intercellular stromata that prevent diffusion of cancer cell-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAb) and become a barrier preventing immunoconjugates from directly attacking cancer cells. Here we show the successful development of a new strategy that overcomes this drawback and achieves a highly localized concentration of a topoisomerase I inhibitor, SN 38, by conjugating it via an ester bond to a mAb targeted against collagen 4, a plentiful component of the tumor stroma. Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) was utilized as a spacer, close to each bond, to maintain stability in the blood. Immunoconjugates selectively extravasated from leaky tumor vessels and minimally from normal vessels because the immunoconjugates are too large to pass through normal vessel walls. Stroma-targeting immunconjugates bound to the stroma to create a scaffold, from which sustained release of cytotoxic agent occurred and the agent subsequently diffused throughout the tumor tissue to damage both tumor cells and vessels. Cancer-stroma-targeting immunoconjugate therapy was thus validated as a new modality of oncological therapy, especially for refractory, stromal-rich cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1776-1783
Number of pages8
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Sept 21


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