Anti-CD20-and B-cell receptor-mediated apoptosis: Evidence for shared intracellular signaling pathways


  • S. Mathas
  • A. Rickers
  • K. Bommert
  • B. Doerken
  • M.Y. Mapara


  • Cancer Research


  • Canc Res 60 (24): 7170-7176


  • Clinical administration of the anti-CD20 antibody IDEC-C2B8 can induce remission of low-grade B-cell lymphoma. Whereas it has been suggested that the main mechanisms of action are complement-mediated and antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity, we demonstrate that monoclonal antibody IDEC-C2B8 is a strong inducer of apoptosis in CD20-positive B-cell lymphoma cell lines reflecting different stages of lymphomagenesis. Thus, CD20-dependent apoptosis was inducible in human surface IgM-positive Burkitt's lymphoma cell lines as well as in more mature surface IgM-negative B-cell lymphoma cell lines carrying the t(14;18) translocation. Furthermore, in Burkitt's lymphoma cell lines, we observed a striking correlation between anti-CD20- and B-cell receptor-mediated apoptosis with regard to sensitivity toward the apoptotic stimuli and the execution of the apoptotic pathway. Thus, induction of anti-CD20- or B-cell receptor-mediated apoptosis involved rapid up-regulation of the proapoptotic protein Bax. In addition, we show similar changes in the mRNA expression level of two early response genes, c-myc and Berg36, as well as activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase family members p44 (extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1) and p42 (extracellular signal-regulated kinase 2) and activation of activator protein 1 (AP-1) DNA binding activity. These data support our hypothesis that both pathways are mediated in part by the same signal-transducing molecules. These results might help explain the resistance and regression of lymphomas to IDEC-C2B8 and give new insights in the signaling cascade after CD20 ligation.