Epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) is known to be overexpressed in epithelial cancers associated with enhanced malignant potential, particularly colorectal carcinoma (CRC) and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). However, it is unknown whether progression of malignance can be directly inhibited by targeting EpCAM. Here, we have generated five novel monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against EpCAM. One of these anti-EpCAM mAbs, EpAb2-6, was found to induce cancer cell apoptosis in vitro, inhibit tumor growth, and prolong the overall survival of both a pancreatic cancer metastatic mouse model and mice with human colon carcinoma xenografts. EpAb2-6 also increases the therapeutic efficacy of irinotecan, fluorouracil, and leucovorin (IFL) therapy in a colon cancer animal model and gemcitabine therapy in a pancreatic cancer animal model. Furthermore, EpAb2-6, which binds to positions Y95 and D96 of the EGF-II/TY domain of EpCAM, inhibits production of EpICD, thereby decreasing its translocation and subsequent signal activation. Collectively, our results indicate that the novel anti-EpCAM mAb can potentially be used for cancer-targeted therapy.
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