Research ArticleCANCER

Anti-EGFR VHH-armed death receptor ligand–engineered allogeneic stem cells have therapeutic efficacy in diverse brain metastatic breast cancers

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Science Advances  03 Mar 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 10, eabe8671
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abe8671


Basal-like breast cancer (BLBC) shows brain metastatic (BM) capability and overexpresses EGFR and death-receptors 4/5 (DR4/5); however, the anatomical location of BM prohibits efficient drug-delivery to these targetable markers. In this study, we developed BLBC-BM mouse models featuring different patterns of BMs and explored the versatility of estem cell (SC)–mediated bi-functional EGFR and DR4/5-targeted treatment in these models. Most BLBC lines demonstrated a high sensitivity to EGFR and DR4/5 bi-targeting therapeutic protein, EVDRL [anti-EGFR VHH (EV) fused to DR ligand (DRL)]. Functional analyses using inhibitors and CRISPR-Cas9 knockouts revealed that the EV domain facilitated in augmenting DR4/5-DRL binding and enhancing DRL-induced apoptosis. EVDRL secreting stem cells alleviated tumor-burden and significantly increased survival in mouse models of residual-tumor after macrometastasis resection, perivascular niche micrometastasis, and leptomeningeal metastasis. This study reports mechanism based simultaneous targeting of EGFR and DR4/5 in BLBC and defines a new treatment paradigm for treatment of BM.

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