Loss of CD20 expression as a mechanism of resistance to mosunetuzumab in relapsed/refractory B-cell lymphomas

Stephen J. Schuster, Ling Yuh Huw, Christopher R. Bolen, Victor Maximov, Andrew G. Polson, Katerina Hatzi, Elisabeth A. Lasater, Sarit E. Assouline, Nancy L. Bartlett, L. Elizabeth Budde, Matthew J. Matasar, Hartmut Koeppen, Emily C. Piccione, Deanna Wilson, Michael C. Wei, Shen Yin, Elicia Penuel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


CD20 is an established therapeutic target in B-cell malignancies. The CD20 × CD3 bispecific antibody mosunetuzumab has significant efficacy in B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHLs). Because target antigen loss is a recognized mechanism of resistance, we evaluated CD20 expression relative to clinical response in patients with relapsed and/or refractory NHL in the phase 1/2 GO29781 trial investigating mosunetuzumab monotherapy. CD20 was studied using immunohistochemistry (IHC), RNA sequencing, and whole-exome sequencing performed centrally in biopsy specimens collected before treatment at predose, during treatment, or upon progression. Before treatment, most patients exhibited a high proportion of tumor cells expressing CD20; however, in 16 of 293 patients (5.5%) the proportion was <10%. Analyses of paired biopsy specimens from patients on treatment revealed that CD20 levels were maintained in 29 of 30 patients (97%) vs at progression, where CD20 loss was observed in 11 of 32 patients (34%). Reduced transcription or acquisition of truncating mutations explained most but not all cases of CD20 loss. In vitro modeling confirmed the effects of CD20 variants identified in clinical samples on reduction of CD20 expression and missense mutations in the extracellular domain that could block mosunetuzumab binding. This study expands the knowledge about the occurrence of target antigen loss after anti-CD20 therapeutics to include CD20-targeting bispecific antibodies and elucidates mechanisms of reduced CD20 expression at disease progression that may be generalizable to other anti-CD20 targeting agents. These results also confirm the utility of readily available IHC staining for CD20 as a tool to inform clinical decisions. This trial was registered at www.ClinicalTrials.gov as #NCT02500407.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)822-832
Number of pages11
Issue number9
StatePublished - Feb 29 2024


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