Targeting a Tumor-Specific Epitope on Podocalyxin Increases Survival in Human Tumor Preclinical Models

Diana Canals Hernaez, Michael R. Hughes, Yicong Li, Ilaria Mainero Rocca, Pamela Dean, Julyanne Brassard, Erin M. Bell, Ismael Samudio, Anne-Marie Mes-Masson, Yoshiki Narimatsu, Henrik Clausen, Ola Blixt, Calvin D. Roskelley*, Kelly M. McNagny*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Podocalyxin (Podxl) is a CD34-related cell surface sialomucin that is normally highly expressed by adult vascular endothelia and kidney podocytes where it plays a key role in blocking adhesion. Importantly, it is also frequently upregulated on a wide array of human tumors and its expression often correlates with poor prognosis. We previously showed that, in xenograft studies, Podxl plays a key role in metastatic disease by making tumor initiating cells more mobile and invasive. Recently, we developed a novel antibody, PODO447, which shows exquisite specificity for a tumor-restricted glycoform of Podxl but does not react with Podxl expressed by normal adult tissue. Here we utilized an array of glycosylation defective cell lines to further define the PODO447 reactive epitope and reveal it as an O-linked core 1 glycan presented in the context of the Podxl peptide backbone. Further, we show that when coupled to monomethyl auristatin E (MMAE) toxic payload, PODO447 functions as a highly specific and effective antibody drug conjugate (ADC) in killing ovarian, pancreatic, glioblastoma and leukemia cell lines in vitro. Finally, we demonstrate PODO447-ADCs are highly effective in targeting human pancreatic and ovarian tumors in xenografted NSG and Nude mouse models. These data reveal PODO447-ADCs as exquisitely tumor-specific and highly efficacious immunotherapeutic reagents for the targeting of human tumors. Thus, PODO447 exhibits the appropriate characteristics for further development as a targeted clinical immunotherapy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number856424
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Pondocalyxin
  • Antibody-drug conjugate
  • PODO447
  • Tumor-specific
  • Glycoepitope


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