Potent antitumor activity of anti-HER2 antibody-topoisomerase I inhibitor conjugate based on self-immolative dendritic dimeric-linker

Yulia Liubomirski, Galia Tiram, Anna Scomparin, Samer Gnaim, Sayantan Das, Sachin Gholap, Liang Ge, Eilam Yeini, Omri Shelef, Arie Zauberman, Nir Berger, Doron Kalimi, Mira Toister-Achituv, Christian Schröter, Stephan Dickgiesser, Jason Tonillo, Min Shan, Carl Deutsch, Stanley Sweeney-Lasch, Doron ShabatRonit Satchi-Fainaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) are a rapidly expanding class of anticancer therapeutics, with 14 ADCs already approved worldwide. We developed unique linker technologies for the bioconjugation of drug molecules with controlled-release applications. We synthesized cathepsin-cleavable ADCs using a dimeric prodrug system based on a self-immolative dendritic scaffold, resulting in a high drug-antibody ratio (DAR) with the potential to reach 16 payloads due to its dendritic structure, increased stability in the circulation and efficient release profile of a highly cytotoxic payload at the targeted site. Using our novel cleavable linker technologies, we conjugated the anti-human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (anti-HER2) antibody, trastuzumab, with topoisomerase I inhibitors, exatecan or belotecan. The newly synthesized ADCs were tested in vitro on mammary carcinoma cells overexpressing human HER2, demonstrating a substantial inhibitory effect on the proliferation of HER2-positive cells. Importantly, a single dose of our trastuzumab-based ADCs administered in vivo to mice bearing HER2-positive tumors, showed a dose-dependent inhibition of tumor growth and survival benefit, with the most potent antitumor effects observed at 10 mg/kg, which resulted in complete tumor regression and survival of 100% of the mice. Overall, our novel dendritic technologies using the protease-cleavable Val-Cit linker present an opportunity for the development of highly selective and potent controlled-released therapeutic payloads. This strategy could potentially lead to the development of novel and effective ADC technologies for patients diagnosed with HER2-positive cancers. Moreover, our proposed ADC linker technology can be implemented in additional medical conditions such as other malignancies as well as autoimmune diseases that overexpress targets, other than HER2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-157
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • Antibody-drug conjugate (ADC)
  • Belotecan
  • Breast cancer
  • Dendritic linker
  • Dimeric prodrug
  • Exatecan
  • HER2
  • Trastuzumab

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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