Redirecting T-cell Activity with Anti-BCMA/Anti-CD3 Bispecific Antibodies in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and Other B-cell Lymphomas

Anne W J Martens, Joanne M Rietveld, Renate de Boer, Fleur S Peters, An Ngo, Lotte W H G van Mil, Koen de Heer, Marcel Spaargaren, Christie P M Verkleij, Niels W C J van de Donk, Homer C Adams, Eric Eldering, Carel J M van Noesel, Raluca Verona, Arnon P Kater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


UNLABELLED: T-cell redirecting bispecific antibodies hold high promise for treatment of B-cell malignancies. B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) exhibits high expression on normal and malignant mature B cells including plasma cells, which can be enhanced by inhibition of γ-secretase. BCMA is considered a validated target in multiple myeloma but whether mature B-cell lymphomas can be targeted by the BCMAxCD3 T-cell redirector teclistamab is currently unknown. BCMA expression on B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma and primary chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells was assessed by flow cytometry and/or IHC. To assess teclistamab efficacy, cells were treated with teclistamab in presence of effector cells with/without γ-secretase inhibition. BCMA could be detected on all tested mature B-cell malignancy cell lines, while expression levels varied per tumor type. γ-secretase inhibition universally increased BCMA surface expression. These data were corroborated in primary samples from patients with Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia, CLL, and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Functional studies with the B-cell lymphoma cell lines revealed teclistamab-mediated T-cell activation, proliferation, and cytotoxicity. This was independent of the level of BCMA expression, but generally lower in mature B-cell malignancies compared with multiple myeloma. Despite low BCMA levels, healthy donor T cells and CLL-derived T cells induced lysis of (autologous) CLL cells upon addition of teclistamab. These data show that BCMA is expressed on various B-cell malignancies and that lymphoma cell lines and primary CLL can be targeted using teclistamab. Further studies to understand the determinants of response to teclistamab are required to identify which other diseases might be suitable for teclistamab targeting.

SIGNIFICANCE: Besides reported BCMA expression on multiple myeloma, we demonstrate BCMA can be detected and enhanced using γ-secretase inhibition on cell lines and primary material of various B-cell malignancies. Furthermore, using CLL we demonstrate that low BCMA-expressing tumors can be targeted efficiently using the BCMAxCD3 DuoBody teclistamab.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-341
Number of pages12
JournalCancer research communications
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

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