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A Journal on Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
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The Quarterly Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 2004 December;48(4):251-7

language: English

A review of human anti-globulin antibody (HAGA, HAMA, HACA, HAHA) responses to monoclonal antibodies. Not four letter words

Mirick G. R., Bradt B. M., Denardo S. J., Denardo G. L.

Davis Medical Center University of California, Sacramento, CA, USA


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The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved unconjugated monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) for immunotherapy (IT) of B-cell lymphoma, breast cancer and acute myeloid leukemia. More recently, approval has been given for conjugated ZevalinTM (90yttrium ibritumomab tiuxetan, IDEC-Y2B8, Biogen Idec, Cambridge, MA) and BexxarTM (131I-tositumomab, Corixa, Corp., Seattle, WA and GlaxoSmithKline, Philadelphia, PA) anti-CD20 MAbs for use in radioimmunotherapy (RIT) of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), thus redefining the standard care of cancer patients. Because of, and despite a lack of basis for concern about allergic reactions due to human antibody responses to these foreign proteins, assays were developed to determine HAGA (human anti-globulin antibody) levels that developed in patient sera following treatment with MAbs. Strategies were also devised to “humanize” MAbs and to temporarily block patient immune function with drugs in order to decrease the seroconversion rates, with considerable success. On the other hand, a survival advantage has been observed in some patients who developed a HAGA following treatment. This correlates with development of an anti-idiotype antibody cascade directed toward the MAbs used to treat these patients. What follows is a selective review of HAGA and its effect on cancer treatment over the past 2 decades.

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