Novel, tumor-specific drugs are urgently needed for a breakthrough in cancer therapy. Herein, we generated a first-in-class humanized antibody (PRL3-zumab) against PRL-3, an intracellular tumor-associated phosphatase upregulated in multiple human cancers, for unconventional cancer immunotherapies. We focused on gastric cancer (GC), wherein elevated PRL-3 mRNA levels significantly correlated with shortened overall survival of GC patients. PRL-3 protein was overexpressed in 85% of fresh-frozen clinical gastric tumor samples examined but not in patient-matched normal gastric tissues. Using human GC cell lines, we demonstrated that PRL3-zumab specifically blocked PRL-3+, but not PRL-3–, orthotopic gastric tumors. In this setting, PRL3-zumab had better therapeutic efficacy as a monotherapy, rather than simultaneous combination with 5-fluorouracil or 5-fluorouracil alone. PRL3-zumab could also prevent PRL-3+ tumor recurrence. Mechanistically, we found that intracellular PRL-3 antigens could be externalized to become “extracellular oncotargets” that serve as bait for PRL3-zumab binding to potentially bridge and recruit immunocytes into tumor microenvironments for killing effects on cancer cells. In summary, our results document a comprehensive cancer therapeutic approach to specific antibody-targeted therapy against the PRL-3 oncotarget as a case study for developing antibodies against other intracellular targets in drug discovery.
- humanized antibody
- cancer therapy