A Novel Bispecific Antibody for EpCAM-Directed Inhibition of the CD73/Adenosine Immune Checkpoint in Ovarian Cancer

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PD-1/PD-L1-inhibiting antibodies have shown disappointing efficacy in patients with refractory ovarian cancer (OC). Apparently, OC cells exploit nonoverlapping immunosuppressive mechanisms to evade the immune system. In this respect, the CD73-adenosine inhibitory immune checkpoint is of particular interest, as it rapidly converts pro-inflammatory ATP released from cancer cells to immunosuppressive adenosine (ADO). Moreover, cancer-cell-produced ADO is known to form a highly immunosuppressive extra-tumoral ‘halo’ that chronically inhibits the anticancer activity of various immune effector cells. Thus far, conventional CD73-blocking antibodies such as oleclumab show limited clinical efficacy, probably due to the fact that it indiscriminately binds to and blocks CD73 on a massive surplus of normal cells. To address this issue, we constructed a novel bispecific antibody (bsAb) CD73xEpCAM that inhibits CD73 expressed on the OC cell surface in an EpCAM-directed manner. Importantly, bsAb CD73xEpCAM showed potent capacity to inhibit the CD73 enzyme activity in an EpCAM-directed manner and restore the cytotoxic activity of ADO-suppressed anticancer T cells. Additionally, treatment with bsAb CD73xEpCAM potently inhibited the proliferative capacity of OC cells and enhanced their sensitivity to cisplatin, doxorubicin, 5FU, and ionizing radiation. BsAb CD73xEpCAM may be useful in the development of tumor-directed immunotherapeutic approaches to overcome the CD73-mediated immunosuppression in patients with refractory OC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3651
Number of pages15
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2023


  • adenosine
  • bispecific antibody
  • CD73
  • EpCAM
  • ovarian cancer

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