An anti-gdnf family receptor alpha 1 (gfra1 antibody–drug conjugate for the treatment of hormone receptor–positive breast cancer

Sunil Bhakta, Lisa M. Crocker, Yvonne Chen, Meredith Hazen, Melissa M. Schutten, Dongwei Li, Coenraad Kuijl, Rachana Ohri, Fiona Zhong, Kirsten A. Poon, Mary Ann T. Go, Eric Cheng, Robert Piskol, Ron Firestein, Aimee Fourie-O'Donohue, Katherine R. Kozak, Helga Raab, Jo-Anne Hongo, Deepak Sampath, Mark S. DennisRichard H. Scheller, Paul Polakis, Jagath R. Junutula

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Luminal A (hormone receptor-positive) breast cancer constitutes 70% of total breast cancer patients. In an attempt to develop a targeted therapeutic for this cancer indication, we have identified and characterized Glial cell line–Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF) Family Receptor Alpha 1 (GFRA1) antibody–drug conjugates (ADC) using a cleavable valine-citrulline-MMAE (vcMMAE) linker-payload. RNAseq and IHC analysis confirmed the abundant expression of GFRA1 in luminal A breast cancer tissues, whereas minimal or no expression was observed in most normal tissues. Anti–GFRA-vcMMAE ADC internalized to the lysosomes and exhibited target-dependent killing of GFRA1-expressing cells both in vitro and in vivo. The ADCs using humanized anti-GFRA1 antibodies displayed robust therapeutic activity in clinically relevant cell line–derived (MCF7 and KPL-1) tumor xenograft models. The lead anti-GFRA1 ADC cross-reacts with rodent and cynomolgus monkey GFRA1 antigen and showed optimal pharmacokinetic properties in both species. These properties subsequently enabled a target-dependent toxicity study in rats. Anti-GFRA1 ADC is well tolerated in rats, as seen with other vcMMAE linker–payload based ADCs. Overall, these data suggest that anti–GFRA1-vcMMAE ADC may provide a targeted therapeutic opportunity for luminal A breast cancer patients. Mol Cancer Ther; 17(3); 638–49. 2017 AACR.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)638-649
JournalMolecular Cancer Therapeutics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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