American Society of Hematology, Blood Advances, 8(5), p. 2196-2215, 2021
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Abstract Cell surface expression levels of GPRC5D, an orphan G protein–coupled receptor, are significantly higher on multiple myeloma (MM) cells, compared with normal plasma cells or other immune cells, which renders it a promising target for immunotherapeutic strategies. The novel GPRC5D-targeting T-cell redirecting bispecific antibody, talquetamab, effectively kills GPRC5D+ MM cell lines in the presence of T cells from both healthy donors or heavily pretreated MM patients. In addition, talquetamab has potent anti-MM activity in bone marrow (BM) samples from 45 patients, including those with high-risk cytogenetic aberrations. There was no difference in talquetamab-mediated killing of MM cells from newly diagnosed, daratumumab-naïve relapsed/refractory (median of 3 prior therapies), and daratumumab-refractory (median of 6 prior therapies) MM patients. Tumor cell lysis was accompanied by T-cell activation and degranulation, as well as production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. High levels of GPRC5D and high effector:target ratio were associated with improved talquetamab-mediated lysis of MM cells, whereas an increased proportion of T cells expressing PD-1 or HLA-DR, and elevated regulatory T-cell (Treg) counts were associated with suboptimal killing. In cell line experiments, addition of Tregs to effector cells decreased MM cell lysis. Direct contact with bone marrow stromal cells also impaired the efficacy of talquetamab. Combination therapy with daratumumab or pomalidomide enhanced talquetamab-mediated lysis of primary MM cells in an additive fashion. In conclusion, we show that the GPRC5D-targeting T-cell redirecting bispecific antibody talquetamab is a promising novel antimyeloma agent. These results provide the preclinical rationale for ongoing studies with talquetamab in relapsed/refractory MM.