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Nov 2011 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

CD47-signal regulatory protein-α (SIRPα) interactions form a barrier for antibody-mediated tumor cell destruction.


Zhao XW, van Beek EM, Schornagel K, Van der Maaden H, Van Houdt M, Otten MA, Finetti P, Van Egmond M, Matozaki T, Kraal G, Birnbaum D, van Elsas A, Kuijpers TW, Bertucci F


Monoclonal antibodies are among the most promising therapeutic agents for treating cancer. Therapeutic cancer antibodies bind to tumor cells, turning them into targets for immune-mediated destruction. We show here that this antibody-mediated killing of tumor cells is limited by a mechanism involving the interaction between tumor cell-expressed CD47 and the inhibitory receptor signal regulatory protein-α (SIRPα) on myeloid cells. Mice that lack the SIRPα cytoplasmic tail, and hence its inhibitory signaling, display increased antibody-mediated elimination of melanoma cells in vivo. Moreover, interference with CD47-SIRPα interactions by CD47 knockdown or by antagonistic antibodies against CD47 or SIRPα significantly enhances the in vitro killing of trastuzumab-opsonized Her2/Neu-positive breast cancer cells by phagocytes. Finally, the response to trastuzumab therapy in breast cancer patients appears correlated to cancer cell CD47 expression. These findings demonstrate that CD47-SIRPα interactions participate in a homeostatic mechanism that restricts antibody-mediated killing of tumor cells. This provides a rational basis for targeting CD47-SIRPα interactions, using for instance the antagonistic antibodies against human SIRPα described herein, to potentiate the clinical effects of cancer therapeutic antibodies.

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