Open Access Research

Nectin-2 is a potential target for antibody therapy of breast and ovarian cancers

Tsutomu Oshima1, Shuji Sato1, Junichi Kato1, Yuki Ito1, Takahiro Watanabe2, Isamu Tsuji1, Akira Hori1, Tomofumi Kurokawa1* and Toshio Kokubo13

Author Affiliations

1 Pharmaceutical Research Division, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, 26-1, Muraokahigashi 2-chome, Fujisawa, Kanagawa 251-8555, Japan

2 CMC Center, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, 4720 Takeda, Aza, Mitsui, Hikari, Yamaguchi 743-0011, Japan

3 Present address: Center for Behavioral Molecular Genetics, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tenno-dai, Tsukuba, Ibaragi 305-8575, Japan

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Molecular Cancer 2013, 12:60  doi:10.1186/1476-4598-12-60

Published: 12 June 2013



Nectin-2 is a Ca2+-independent cell-cell adhesion molecule that is one of the plasma membrane components of adherens junctions. However, little has been reported about the involvement of Nectin-2 in cancer.


To determine the expression of Nectin-2 in cancer tissues and cancer cell lines, we performed gene expression profile analysis, immunohistochemistry studies, and flow cytometry analysis. We also investigated the potential of this molecule as a target for antibody therapeutics to treat cancers by generating and characterizing an anti-Nectin-2 rabbit polyclonal antibody (poAb) and 256 fully human anti-Nectin-2 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). In addition, we tested anti-Nectin-2 mAbs in several in vivo tumor growth inhibition models to investigate the primary mechanisms of action of the mAbs.


In the present study, we found that Nectin-2 was over-expressed in clinical breast and ovarian cancer tissues by using gene expression profile analysis and immunohistochemistry studies. Nectin-2 was over-expressed in various cancer cell lines as well. Furthermore, the polyclonal antibody specific to Nectin-2 suppressed the in vitro proliferation of OV-90 ovarian cancer cells, which express endogenous Nectin-2 on the cell surface. The anti-Nectin-2 mAbs we generated were classified into 7 epitope bins. The anti-Nectin-2 mAbs demonstrated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and epitope bin-dependent features such as the inhibition of Nectin-2-Nectin-2 interaction, Nectin-2-Nectin-3 interaction, and in vitro cancer cell proliferation. A representative anti-Nectin-2 mAb in epitope bin VII, Y-443, showed anti-tumor effects against OV-90 cells and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells in mouse therapeutic models, and its main mechanism of action appeared to be ADCC.


We observed the over-expression of Nectin-2 in breast and ovarian cancers and anti-tumor activity of anti-Nectin-2 mAbs via strong ADCC. These findings suggest that Nectin-2 is a potential target for antibody therapy against breast and ovarian cancers.

Nectin-2; Antibody; Cancer; Antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity