Research ArticleIMMUNOLOGY

Imaging the mechanisms of anti-CD20 therapy in vivo uncovers spatiotemporal bottlenecks in antibody-dependent phagocytosis

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Science Advances  19 Feb 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 8, eabd6167
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd6167


Anti-CD20 antibody (mAb) represents an effective strategy for the treatment of B cell malignancies, possibly involving complement activity, antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity and phagocytosis (ADP). While ADP by Kupffer cells deplete circulating tumors, mechanisms targeting non-circulating tumors remain unclear. Using intravital imaging in a model of B cell lymphoma, we establish here the dominance and limitations of ADP in the bone marrow (BM). We found that tumor cells were stably residing in the BM with little evidence for recirculation. To elucidate the mechanism of depletion, we designed a dual fluorescent reporter to visualize phagocytosis and apoptosis. ADP by BM-associated macrophages was the primary mode of tumor elimination but was no longer active after one hour, resulting in partial depletion. Moreover, macrophages were present at low density in tumor-rich regions, targeting only neighboring tumors. Overcoming spatiotemporal bottlenecks in tumor-targeting Ab therapy thus represents a critical path towards the design of optimized therapies.

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