ErbB2 IS A TUMOR ASSOCIATED ANTIGEN AND A SUITABLE THERAPEUTIC TARGET IN WILMS TUMOR
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PURPOSE: The modern multimodality therapeutic approach to Wilms tumor (WT), combining surgery with radiotherapy and chemotherapy results in high cure rates even for high stage disease. However, the combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy is associated with severe early and late complications such as neutropenic sepsis, growth retardation and secondary malignancies. Therefore, novel therapeutic strategies, which would decrease the treatment burden, are required. We studied the expression of erbB2 growth factor receptor in WT cells as well as its role as a tumor therapeutic target in an in vivo xenograft model of Wilms tumor. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Paraffin embedded pathological samples from 14 different WT cases as well as xenografts derived thereof were immunostained with anti-erbB2 monoclonal antibody. The immunostaining was graded in comparison to a known positive control (breast cancer) and was scored by the intensity of staining (0 to +3) multiplied by the percentage of cells expressing the antigen. The expression of erbB2 in the human WT xenograft was verified also by fluorescence activated cell sorter analysis. In addition, nude mice bearing established subcutaneous human WT xenografts were treated with either 3 intraperitoneal injections of N29 anti-erbB2 monoclonal antibody or irrelevant antibody. RESULTS: All of the authentic human pathological samples, except 1 anaplastic WT as well the WT xenografts (at different stages), expressed erbB2. Expression was also observed in WT metastasis and in tumors which out grew chemotherapy. Systemic administration of anti-erbB2 monoclonal antibody inhibited and even prevented the growth of WT xenograft in vivo. CONCLUSIONS: ErbB2 is a tumor associated antigen in WT. Being expressed in almost all tumor stages, our in vivo model suggests that erbB2 may serve as a WT therapeutic target. Further work is needed to establish the role of erbB2 in the disease and its potential use in decreasing current treatment burden.
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