Optimal target antigen selection antibody-based therapeutics can be very effective agents for the treatment of hematologic malignancies. However, there are no approved treatments for myeloma, a cancer that affects plasma cells.

Rituximab (Rituxan®; Genentech/MabThera®; Roche), a naked antibody, and brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris®; Seattle Genetics), an antibody-drug conjugate, are examples of success.

Plasma cell myeloma is an attractive disease for antibody-based targeting due to target cell accessibility and the complementary mechanism of action with approved therapies. Unfortunately, initial antibodies tested in myeloma were disappointing. However, recent results from targeting well-characterized antigens have been more encouraging. In particular, the CD38 and CD138 targeted therapies are showing single-agent activity in early phase clinical trials.


In an article published in the September 26, 2014 edition of Blood Review, Daniel Sherbenou, Christopher Behrens, Yang Su, Jeffrey Wolf, Thomas Martin, and Bin Liu of the Department of Medicine and Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA, review the development pipeline for both naked antibodies and antibody-drug conjugates for myeloma.

Because myeloma inevitably becomes refractory to standard agents, the researchers agree that there is clear clinical need for new treatments. The reviewers conclude that based on their study, they are optimistic that the first FDA-approved antibody therapeutic(s) for this disease will emerge in the near future.

Published in: Blood Review