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A Case Study Comparing Heterogeneous Lysine- and Site-Specific Cysteine-Conjugated Maytansinoid Antibody-Drug Conjugates (ADCs) Illustrates the Benefits of Lysine Conjugation

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journal contribution
posted on 31.07.2019, 17:38 by Nicholas C. Yoder, Chen Bai, Daniel Tavares, Wayne C. Widdison, Kathleen R. Whiteman, Alan Wilhelm, Sharon D. Wilhelm, Molly A. McShea, Erin K. Maloney, Olga Ab, Lintao Wang, Shan Jin, Hans K. Erickson, Thomas A. Keating, John M. Lambert
Antibody-drug conjugates are an emerging class of cancer therapeutics constructed from monoclonal antibodies conjugated with small molecule effectors. First-generation molecules of this class often employed heterogeneous conjugation chemistry, but many site-specifically conjugated ADCs have been described recently. Here, we undertake a systematic comparison of ADCs made with the same antibody and the same macrocyclic maytansinoid effector but conjugated either heterogeneously at lysine residues or site-specifically at cysteine residues. Characterization of these ADCs in vitro reveals generally similar properties, including a similar catabolite profile, a key element in making a meaningful comparison of conjugation chemistries. In a mouse model of cervical cancer, the lysine-conjugated ADC affords greater efficacy on a molar payload basis. Rather than making general conclusions about ADCs conjugated by a particular chemistry, we interpret these results as highlighting the complexity of ADCs and the interplay between payload class, linker chemistry, target antigen, and other variables that determine efficacy in a given setting.