One target, different effects: A comparison of distinct therapeutic antibodies against the same targets

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To date, more than 30 antibodies have been approved worldwide for therapeutic use. While the monoclonal antibody market is rapidly growing, the clinical use of therapeutic antibodies is mostly limited to treatment of cancers and immunological disorders. Moreover, antibodies against only five targets (TNF-α, HER2, CD20, EGFR, and VEGF) account for more than 80 percent of the worldwide market of therapeutic antibodies. The shortage of novel, clinically proven targets has resulted in the development of many distinct therapeutic antibodies against a small number of proven targets, based on the premise that different antibody molecules against the same target antigen have distinct biological and clinical effects from one another. For example, four antibodies against TNF-α have been approved by the FDA - infliximab, adalimumab, golimumab, and certolizumab pegol - with many more in clinical and preclinical development. The situation is similar for HER2, CD20, EGFR, and VEGF, each having one or more approved antibodies and many more under development. This review discusses the different binding characteristics, mechanisms of action, and biological and clinical activities of multiple monoclonal antibodies against TNF-α, HER-2, CD20, and EGFR and provides insights into the development of therapeutic antibodies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-549
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental and Molecular Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - 31 Oct 2011


  • Antibodies
  • Antigens
  • CD20
  • Epidermal growth factor
  • Monoclonal
  • Pharmacology
  • Receptor
  • Tumor necrosis factor-α
  • erbB-2


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