Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL) is a peripheral T-cell neoplasm with dismal prognosis, and no optimal therapy has been developed. We tested the defucosylated chimeric anti-CC chemokine receptor 4 (CCR4) monoclonal antibody, KM2760, to develop a novel immunotherapy for this refractory tumor. In the presence of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from healthy adult donors, KM2760 induced CCR4-specific antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) against CCR4-positive ATLL cell lines and primary tumor cells obtained from ATLL patients. We next examined the KM2760-induced ADCC against primary ATLL cells in an autologous setting. Antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity mediated by autologous effector cells was generally lower than that mediated by allogeneic control effector cells. However, a robust ADCC activity was induced in some cases, which was comparable with that mediated by allogeneic effector cells. It suggests that the ATLL patients' PBMCs retain substantial ADCC-effector function, although the optimal conditions for maximal effect have not yet been determined. In addition, we also found a high expression of FoxP3 mRNA and protein, a hallmark of regulatory T cells, in ATLL cells, indicating the possibility that ATLL cells originated from regulatory T cells. KM2760 reduced FoxP3 mRNA expression in normal PBMCs along with CCR4 mRNA by lysis of CCM4+ T cells in vitro. Our data suggest not only that the CCR4 molecule could be a suitable target for the novel antibody-based therapy for patients with ATLL but also that KM2760 may induce effective tumor immunity by reducing the number of regulatory T cells.
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