Interactions between Ibrutinib and Anti-CD20 Antibodies: Competing Effects on the Outcome of Combination Therapy

Martin Skarzynski, Carsten U Niemann, Yuh Shan Lee, Sabrina Martyr, Irina Maric, Dalia Salem, Maryalice Stetler-Stevenson, Gerald E Marti, Katherine R Calvo, Constance Yuan, Janet Valdez, Susan Soto, Mohammed Z H Farooqui, Sarah E M Herman, Adrian Wiestner

68 Citationer (Scopus)


PURPOSE: Clinical trials of ibrutinib combined with anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies (mAb) for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) report encouraging results. Paradoxically, in preclinical studies, in vitro ibrutinib was reported to decrease CD20 expression and inhibit cellular effector mechanisms. We therefore set out to investigate effects of in vivo ibrutinib treatment that could explain this paradox.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Patients received single-agent ibrutinib (420 mg daily) on an investigator-initiated phase II trial. Serial blood samples were collected pretreatment and during treatment for ex vivo functional assays to examine the effects on CLL cell susceptibility to anti-CD20 mAbs.

RESULTS: We demonstrate that CD20 expression on ibrutinib was rapidly and persistently downregulated (median reduction 74%, day 28, P < 0.001) compared with baseline. Concomitantly, CD20 mRNA was decreased concurrent with reduced NF-κB signaling. An NF-κB binding site in the promoter of MS4A1 (encoding CD20) and downregulation of CD20 by NF-κB inhibitors support a direct transcriptional effect. Ex vivo, tumor cells from patients on ibrutinib were less susceptible to anti-CD20 mAb-mediated complement-dependent cytotoxicity than pretreatment cells (median reduction 75%, P < 0.001); however, opsonization by the complement protein C3d, which targets cells for phagocytosis, was relatively maintained. Expression of decay-accelerating factor (CD55) decreased on ibrutinib, providing a likely mechanism for the preserved C3d opsonization. In addition, ibrutinib significantly inhibited trogocytosis, a major contributor to antigen loss and tumor escape during mAb therapy.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicate that ibrutinib promotes both positive and negative interactions with anti-CD20 mAbs, suggesting that successfully harnessing maximal antitumor effects of such combinations requires further investigation.

TidsskriftClinical Cancer Research
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)86-95
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - 1 jan. 2016
Udgivet eksterntJa


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