Preclinical Efficacy and Safety Assessment of an Antibody-Drug Conjugate Targeting the c-RET Proto-Oncogene for Breast Carcinoma

Minh Nguyen, Shuichi Miyakawa, Junichi Kato, Toshiyuki Mori, Toshimitsu Arai, Mark Armanini, Karen Gelmon, Rinat Yerushalmi, Samuel Leung, Dongxia Gao, Gregory Landes, Mary Haak-Frendscho, Kathleen Elias, Andrew D. Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The RET proto-oncogene has been implicated in breast cancer, and the studies herein describe the preclinical and safety assessment of an anti-RET antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) being developed for the treatment of breast cancer. Experimental Design: RET protein expression was analyzed in breast tumor samples using tissue microarrays. The fully human anti-RET antibody (Y078) was conjugated to the DM1 and DM4 derivatives of the potent cytotoxic agent maytansine using thioether and disulfide linkers, respectively. The resulting compounds, designated Y078-DM1 and Y078-DM4, were evaluated for antitumor activity using human breast cancer cell lines and established tumor xenograft models. A single-dose, 28-day, safety study of Y078-DM1 was performed in cynomolgus monkeys. Results: By immunohistochemistry, RET expression was detected in 57% of tumors (1,596 of 2,800 tumor sections) and was most common in HER2-positive and basal breast cancer subtypes. Potent in vitro cytotoxicity was achieved inhuman breast cancer cell lines that have expression levels comparable with those observed in breast cancer tissue samples. Dose-response studies in xenograft models demonstrated antitumor activity with both weekly and every-3-weeks dosing regimens. In cynomolgus monkeys, a single injection of Y078-DM1 demonstrated dose-dependent, reversible drug-mediated alterations in blood chemistry with evidence of on-target neuropathy. Conclusions: RET is broadly expressed in breast cancer specimens and thus represents a potential therapeutic target; Y078- DM1 and Y078-DM4 demonstrated antitumor activity in preclinical models. Optimization of the dosing schedule or an alternate cytotoxic agent with a different mechanism of action may reduce the potential risk of neuropathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5552-5562
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number24
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


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