For cancer treatment, various immune cells can effectively have a cytotoxic effect on cancer cells through the mechanism of Antibody-Dependent Cell-Mediated Cytotoxicity (ADCC).
This mechanism includes binding of both cell types through an antibody. In most cases, monoclonal antibodies (mAB) are used for such therapies.
Mechanism of ADCC in cancer immunotherapy
The mechanism through which ADCC acts, includes a few steps:
- Tumor-specific mAbs recognize tumor-selective antigens on the surface of target cancer cells
- The Fc receptor expressed by the effector immune cells recognizes and binds the Fc portion of the antibody that is attached to the cancer cells.
- After binding of both cell types to the antibody, the immune cell secretes proteins and enzymes that induce cancer cell lysis.
ADCC cancer treatment can be measured in vitro by conventional assays, such as 51-Chromium assays, that require pre-labeling of the cancer - or immune cells with a label. This label is released when cancer cell death is induced and can then be measured and quantified.