Indexed on: 18 Jun '14Published on: 18 Jun '14Published in: Immunology & Cell Biology
Blockade of CD44 is considered a therapeutic option for the elimination of leukemia-initiating cells. However, the application of anti-panCD44 can be burdened by severe side effects. We determined whether these side effects could be avoided by replacing anti-panCD44 with CD44 variant isoform (CD44v)-specific antibodies in CD44v-positive hematological malignancies using the EL4 thymoma and CD44v10-transfected EL4 (EL4-v10) as models. Subcutaneous growth of EL4 and EL4-v10 was equally well inhibited by the anti-panCD44 and anti-CD44v10 antibodies, respectively. Ex vivo analysis indicated that natural killer cytotoxicity and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity were the main effector mechanisms. Under local inflammation, the efficacy of anti-CD44v10 prolonged the survival time twofold compared with untreated, EL4-v10 tumor-bearing mice, and this was due to inflammation-induced expression of osteopontin (OPN). A high level of OPN in EL4-v10 tumors supported leukocyte recruitment and tumor-infiltrating T-cell activation. Taken together, in hematological malignancies expressing CD44v, anti-panCD44 can be replaced by CD44v-specific antibodies without a loss in efficacy. Furthermore, CD44v10-specific antibodies appear particularly advantageous in cutaneous leukemia therapy, as CD44v10 binding of OPN drives leukocyte recruitment and activation.