Metastatic colorectal cancer remains a leading cause of cancer-related deaths, with a 5-year survival rate of only 15%. T cell–engaging bispecific antibodies (TCBs) represent a class of biopharmaceuticals that redirect cytotoxic T cells toward tumor cells, thereby turning immunologically “cold” tumors into “hot” ones. The carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is an attractive tumor-associated antigen that is overexpressed in more than 98% of patients with colorectal cancer. In this study, we report the comparison of four different TCB formats employing the antibodies F4 (targeting human CEA) and 2C11 (targeting mouse CD3ε). These formats include both antibody fragment–based and IgG-based constructs, with either one or two binding specificities of the respective antibodies. The 2 + 1 arrangement, using an anti-CEA single-chain diabody fused to an anti-CD3 single-chain variable fragment, emerged as the most potent design, showing tumor killing at subnanomolar concentrations across three different CEA+ cell lines. The in vitro activity was three times greater in C57BL/6 mouse colon adenocarcinoma cells (MC38) expressing high levels of CEA compared with those expressing low levels, highlighting the impact of CEA density in this assay. The optimal TCB candidate was tested in two different immunocompetent mouse models of colorectal cancer and showed tumor growth retardation. Ex vivo analysis of tumor infiltrates showed an increase in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells upon TCB treatment. This study suggests that bivalent tumor targeting, monovalent T-cell targeting, and a short spatial separation are promising characteristics for CEA-targeting TCBs.

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