Despite significant improvements in the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM), this progressive malignancy of antibody-producing clonal plasma cells is still considered incurable. New innovative treatments need to be developed to improve long term outcomes. Recent successes of CD20 antibodies in the clinical lymphoma management indicate that targeted immunotherapy can represent a powerful therapeutical strategy for hematological malignancies. Towards developing a similar strategy for MM, we have recently generated a novel human monoclonal antibody, daratumumab (DARA), which targets the CD38 molecule expressed at high levels on MM cells. We have demonstrated that DARA mediates the lysis of CD38+ MM cells via direct apoptosis, complement mediated lysis and antibody-dependent cell mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC). Natural killer (NK) cells appeared important effector cells mediating the ADCC effect. Since NK cell activity against tumor cells is regulated by the balance of signals generated by inhibitory or activating receptors of NK cells (KIRs), we now explored whether blocking the inhibitory KIRs would improve the NK cell mediated DARA dependent lysis of MM cells. Thus, we evaluated the potential benefits of combining DARA with a novel human anti KIR monoclonal antibody, IPH2102, which blocks the inhibitory KIR2DL1/2/3 receptors (HLA-C specific KIRs), and has been shown to augment NK cell function against MM cells.
We recently developed FACS-based ex vivo MM cell lysis assays, in which DARA-dependent NK cell-mediated lysis of MM cells can be directly measured in bone marrow MNCs, thus without separating the malignant cells from autologous NK cells and other accessory cells. Using these, we investigated whether the addition of IPH2102 would augment the DARA dependent lysis of MM cells.
As expected, DARA induced lysis of MM cells in bone marrow MNCs isolated from MM patients (n=10). Mean lysis at 10 μg/ml DARA was 27.6% (range 11.3–48.1%). IPH2102 showed little or no lysis of MM cells (at 0.3, 1, 3 and 10 μg/ml) in this setting. The combination of 10 μg/ml IPH2102 with 3 and 10 μg/ml DARA significantly enhanced cytotoxicity against primary MM tumor cells compared to DARA alone (p=0.013 and p=0.028 respectively). Mean lysis of MM tumor cells at 10 μg/ml DARA and 10 μg/ml IPH2102 was 38%.
These data confirm our previous findings that NK-cell mediated killing is an important mechanism of action of DARA. We demonstrate a clear synergy between DARA and IPH2102 to achieve effective lysis of MM cells directly in the bone marrow MNC of MM patients, indicating that complementary effects may be achieved by combining IPH2102 and DARA in clinical MM management.
Weers:Genmab: Employment. Andre:Innate Pharma: Employment. Lokhorst:Genmab: Research Funding. Parren:Genmab: Employment. Morel:Innate Pharma: Employment. Mutis:Genmab: Research Funding.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.