Anti-CD20 antibodies, like rituximab, are broadly used to treat B cell malignancies. These antibodies can induce various effector functions, including immune cell-mediated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). Neutrophils can induce ADCC towards solid cancer cells by trogoptosis, a cytotoxic mechanism known to be dependent on trogocytosis. However, neutrophils appear incapable of killing rituximab-opsonized B lymphoma cells. Nevertheless, neutrophils do trogocytose rituximab-opsonized B lymphoma cells, yet this only reduces CD20 surface expression, and is thought to render tumor cells therapeutically resistant to further rituximab-dependent destruction. Here, we demonstrate that resistance of B lymphoma cells towards neutrophil killing can be overcome by a combination of CD47-SIRPα checkpoint blockade and sodium stibogluconate (SSG), an anti-leishmanial drug and documented inhibitor of the tyrosine phosphatase SHP-1. SSG enhanced neutrophil-mediated ADCC of solid tumor cells, but enabled B lymphoma cell trogoptotic killing, by turning trogocytosis from a resistance-contributing mechanism into a cytotoxic anti-cancer one. The killing in the presence of SSG required both antibody opsonization of the target cells, as well as disruption of CD47-SIRPα interactions. These results provide a more detailed understanding of the role of neutrophil trogocytosis in antibody-mediated destruction of B cells and clues on how to further optimize antibody therapy of B cell malignancies.
Copyright © 2021 American Society of Hematology.