Development of an affinity-matured humanized anti-epidermal growth factor receptor antibody for cancer immunotherapy

Takeshi Nakanishi, Takamitsu Maru, Kazuhiro Tahara, Hideaki Sanada, Mitsuo Umetsu, Ryutaro Asano, Izumi Kumagai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


We showed previously that humanization of 528, a murine anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) antibody, causes reduced affinity for its target. Here, to improve the affinity of the humanized antibody for use in cancer immunotherapy, we constructed phage display libraries focused on the complementarity-determining regions (CDRs) of the antibody and carried out affinity selection. Two-step selections using libraries constructed in a stepwise manner enabled a 32-fold affinity enhancement of humanized 528 (h528). Thermodynamic analysis of the interactions between the variable domain fragment of h528 (h528Fv) mutants and the soluble extracellular domain of EGFR indicated that the h528Fv mutants obtained from the first selection showed a large increase in negative enthalpy change due to binding, resulting in affinity enhancement. Furthermore, mutants from the second selection showed a decrease in entropy loss, which led to further affinity maturation. These results suggest that a single mutation in the heavy chain variable domain (i.e. Tyr52 to Trp) enthalpically contributed for overcoming the energetic barrier to the antigen-antibody interaction, which was a major hurdle for the in vitro affinity maturation of h528. We reported previously that the humanized bispecific diabody hEx3 Db, which targets EGFR and CD3, shows strong anti-tumor activity. hEx3 Db mutants, in which the variable domains of h528 were replaced with those of the affinity-enhanced mutants, were prepared and characterized. In a growth inhibition assay of tumor cells, the hEx3 Db mutants showed stronger anti-tumor activity than that of hEx3 Db, suggesting that affinity enhancement of h528Fv enhances the anti-tumor activity of the bispecific diabody.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-122
Number of pages10
JournalProtein Engineering, Design and Selection
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Feb


  • affinity maturation
  • antibody
  • cancer immunotherapy
  • humanization
  • phage display


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