Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have emerged as powerful adjuncts in the treatment of patients with B-cell lymphoproliferative disorders. While the treatment of B-cell lymphomas has incorporated mAbs and other biological agents into standard chemotherapy regimens, the treatment options for patients with T-cell lymphomas remain relatively limited. There exists a dire need to develop targeted therapies for T-cell lymphomas. Thymoglobulin® (rATG) is a rabbit polyclonal antibody targeting various receptors present on T-cell lymphocytes. When administered at high doses, rATG is known to deplete various subsets of T-cell lymphocytes and induce tolerance in solid organ or bone marrow transplant settings. Using several pre-clinical models, we evaluated the biological effects of rATG against various T-cell lymphoma cell lines. Experiments were conducted in HH, H9, Loucy and HT102 cell lines. A B-cell mantle cell lymphoma cell line was used as a control (MJ). rATG-induced cell-growth inhibition was measured by [3H]-Thymide incorporation assays and measured at 24 and 48 hours. Induction of apoptosis in T-cell lines following rATG exposure was determined by annexin-V/propidium iodine staining and quantified by flow cytometric analysis. Standard functional assays for ADCC/CMC were performed using rATG (5 or 25mg/ml) in 51Cr-labeled T-cells. We found that rATG inhibited DNA synthesis in all the T-cell lines tested. No biological effect was observed in the B-cell mantle cell lymphoma line. Treatment with rATG at either 5 or 25mg/ml resulted in a 30 to 50% growth inhibition when compared to isotype or vehicle controls (P<0.05). Induction of apoptosis was demonstrated in 30 to 40% of T-cell lymphoma cells 24 hrs following exposure to ATG. Biological effects of rATG were dose-dependent. In addition, rATG induced significant ADCC and CMC in T-cell lymphoma cell lines. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that rATG is active against a variety of T-cell lymphoma cell lines in vitro. Anti-tumor effects of rATG are mediated by induction of direct signaling and via the activation of the innate immune system. Additional in vivo studies using T-cell lymphoma are underway and will be presented at the annual meeting.

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