HER2-directed therapies have improved clinical outcomes for many patients with HER2-positive breast and gastric cancer. Despite these successes, there remains a need to develop improved HER2-targeted therapies for these and other HER2-expressing tumors, particularly in the setting of recurrent or metastatic disease. Zanidatamab (ZW25) is a humanized, bispecific, immunoglobulin (Ig) G1-like antibody directed against the juxtamembrane extracellular domain (ECD4) and the dimerization domain (ECD2) of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), the same domains targeted by trastuzumab (T) and pertuzumab (P), respectively. Data from the ongoing phase 1 study (NCT02892123) demonstrate that zanidatamab is well tolerated and has single agent activity in patients with advanced HER2-expressing cancers that have progressed after standard of care (SOC) therapies, including HER2-targeted agents such as T, P, and trastuzumab emtansine.1,2 We have previously shown that the unique design and bispecific binding of zanidatamab results in multiple mechanisms of action including increased antibody binding density, potent effector function, improved receptor internalization and HER2 downregulation relative to T.3 To better understand the mechanism by which zanidatamab differentiates itself from T, P and T+P, we recently expanded our mechanistic evaluations including cell surface HER2 aggregation, complement-dependant cytotoxicity (CDC) and inhibition of both tumor cell growth and intracellular signaling. Single molecule-sensitive direct stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (dSTORM) was used to map HER2 receptor distribution and quantitate the size, density, and frequency of receptor clusters induced by antibody binding. In vitro assessments were performed in a panel of HER2-expressing cell lines using standard assays including CDC with human complement serum and inhibition of both tumor cell growth and intracellular signaling. Using dSTORM, we observed that zanidatamab binding resulted in enhanced HER2 aggregation and distinct HER2 capping on the tumor cell surface compared to T, P or T+P. Evaluation of CDC activity in HER2-overexpressing tumor cells demonstrated that zanidatamab, but not T, P or T+P, elicited CDC suggesting that the enhanced HER2 aggregation and capping on the tumor cell surface provides high avidity docking sites to which C1 binds and is activated. Zanidatamab showed further differentiation in the inhibition of both tumor growth and intracellular signaling of HER2-overexpressing cells compared to T, P and T+P. Zanidatamab has novel cell surface binding and additional mechanisms of action compared to T, P and T+P. Zanidatamab is actively being evaluated in clinical trials in multiple HER2-expressing solid tumors, including a registration-enabling clinical trial in HER2 gene amplified biliary tract cancer (NCT04466891).
Citation Format: Nina E. Weisser, Grant Wickman, Libin Abraham, Jason O'Toole, Bryant Harbourne, Joy Guedia, Chi Wing Cheng, Peter Chan, Duncan Browman, Michael R. Gold, Neil Josephson, Surjit Dixit, Gerry Rowse. The bispecific antibody zanidatamab's (ZW25's) unique mechanisms of action and durable anti-tumor activity in HER2-expressing cancers [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2021; 2021 Apr 10-15 and May 17-21. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2021;81(13_Suppl):Abstract nr 1005.