Expanding anti-CD38 immunotherapy for lymphoid malignancies.



Lymphoid neoplasms, including multiple myeloma (MM), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), and NK/T cell neoplasms, are a major cause of blood cancer morbidity and mortality. CD38 (cyclic ADP ribose hydrolase) is a transmembrane glycoprotein expressed on the surface of plasma cells and MM cells. The high expression of CD38 across MM and other lymphoid malignancies and its restricted expression in normal tissues make CD38 an attractive target for immunotherapy. CD38-targeting antibodies, like daratumumab, have been approved for the treatment of MM and tested against lymphoma and leukemia in multiple clinical trials.


We generated chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells targeting CD38 and tested its cytotoxicity against multiple CD38high and CD38low lymphoid cancer cells. We evaluated the synergistic effects of all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) and CAR T cells or daratumumab against cancer cells and xenograft tumors.


CD38-CAR T cells dramatically inhibited the growth of CD38high MM, mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia (WM), T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), and NK/T-cell lymphoma (NKTCL) in vitro and in mouse xenografts. ATRA elevated CD38 expression in multiple CD38low cancer cells and enhanced the anti-tumor activity of daratumumab and CD38-CAR T cells in xenograft tumors.


These findings may expand anti-CD38 immunotherapy to a broad spectrum of lymphoid malignancies and call for the incorporation of ATRA into daratumumab or other anti-CD38 immunological agents for cancer therapy.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Wang, Xu, Xinfang Yu, Wei Li, Praveen Neeli, Ming Liu, Ling Li, Mingzhi Zhang, Xiaosheng Fang, et al. (2022). Expanding anti-CD38 immunotherapy for lymphoid malignancies. Journal of experimental & clinical cancer research : CR, 41(1). p. 210. 10.1186/s13046-022-02421-2 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/25443.

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Ken H Young

Professor of Pathology

I am a clinically-oriented diagnostic physician with clinical expertise in the pathologic diagnosis of hematologic cancers including tumors of the bone marrow, lymphoid tissue, spleen and pre-malignant hematologic conditions. Another area of interest is blood cancer classification with molecular and genetic profiling. In my research program, we focus on molecular mechanisms of tumor progression, cell-of-origin, biomarkers, and novel therapeutic strategies in lymphoma, myeloma and leukemia. In addition to patient care and translational research, medical education and scientific communication are also part of interest. I provide persistent support for the physician-scientist program and Blood Cancer Pathology program in the department and cancer center. Many residents, fellows, graduates and postdocs have worked and been trained in our program. We perform comprehensive clinical and research functions that include bone marrow, lymphoma pathology, clinical flow cytometry, cytogenetics, molecular diagnostics and outside services.

I am currently the director of hematopathology division that provides diagnostic consultation services and relevant specialized testing for patients with various types of acute and chronic leukemia, lymphoma and benign hematologic disorders. I am specialized in the diagnosis of hematological disorders, including acute and chronic leukemias, myelodysplastic syndromes, myeloproliferative neoplasms, B and T-cell lymphomas, Hodgkin lymphoma, cutaneous and orbital lymphomas and benign bone marrow and lymph node disorders. 

Our group has been supported by various funding resources since 2006 and has published 318 original peer-reviewed articles and 56 review articles, many in high- impact journals (Nature Clin Onc Rev, JCO, JAMA, Lancet, Blood, JHO, Leukemia and Clinical Cancer Research). The contributions to the hematology field include the development of novel diagnostic algorithms, molecular and genetic biomarkers for classification of blood cancer, lymphoid neoplasms and lymphoid diseases.

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