A study published online July 29 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute says that a novel anticancer agent, consisting of a monoclonal antibody linked to a chemotherapy drug, showed substantial antitumor activity in ovarian cancer cell lines and in mice.
The agent, known as an immunoconjugate, targets a protein, EphA2, which is overexpressed in many human cancers but is absent or expressed at low levels in normal tissues.
Anil K. Sood, M.D., of The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues tested the immunoconjugate in ovarian cancer cell lines, where it bound to cells with high levels of EphA2 but not to those without the protein. In mice, the EphA2 immunoconjugate inhibited tumor growth by 85%% compared with that in mice treated with a control immunoconjugate, a highly statistically significant difference. In cell lines, its antitumor effects were also statistically significantly related to decreased proliferation and increased apoptosis of tumor cells.