Cancer-oocyte SAS1B protein is expressed at the cell surface of multiple solid tumors and targeted with antibody-drug conjugates

March, 03, 2024 | Select Oncology Journal Articles


Sperm acrosomal SLLP1 binding (SAS1B) protein is found in oocytes, which is necessary for sperm-oocyte interaction, and also in uterine and pancreatic cancers. Anti-SAS1B antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) arrested growth in these cancers. However, SAS1B expression in cancers and normal tissues has not been characterized. We hypothesized that SAS1B is expressed on the surface of other common solid cancer cells, but not on normal tissue cells, and might be selectively targeted therapeutically.


SAS1B expression in human normal and cancer tissues was determined by immunohistochemistry, and complementary DNA (cDNA) libraries were employed to PCR amplify human SAS1B and its transcripts. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to human SAS1B were generated using mouse hybridomas. SAS1B deletion constructs were developed to map SAS1B’s epitope, enabling the creation of a blocking peptide. Indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) of human transfected normal and cancer cells was performed to assess SAS1B expression. SAS1B intracellular versus surface expression in normal and tumor tissues was evaluated by flow cytometry after staining with anti-SAS1B mAb, with specificity confirmed with the blocking peptide. Human cancer lines were treated with increasing mAb and ADC concentrations. ATP was quantitated as a measure of cell viability.


SAS1B expression was identified in a subset of human cancers and the cytoplasm of pancreatic islet cells. Two new SAS1B splice variants were deduced. Monoclonal antibodies were generated to SAS1B splice variant A. The epitope for mAbs SB2 and SB5 is between SAS1B amino acids 32–39. IIF demonstrated intracellular SAS1B expression in transfected kidney cells and on the cell surface of squamous cell lung carcinoma. Flow cytometry demonstrated intracellular SAS1B expression in all tumors and some normal cells. However, surface expression of SAS1B was identified only on cancer cells. SB2 ADC mediated dose-dependent cytotoxic killing of multiple human cancer lines.


SAS1B is a novel cancer-oocyte antigen with cell surface expression restricted to cancer cells. In vitro, it is an effective target for antibody-mediated cancer cell lysis. These findings support further exploration of SAS1B as a potential therapeutic cancer target in multiple human cancers, either with ADC or as a chimeric antigen receptor-T (CAR-T) cell target.

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