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Clin Cancer Res. 2007 Sep 15;13(18 Pt 2):5556s-5563s.

CD74: a new candidate target for the immunotherapy of B-cell neoplasms.

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Garden State Cancer Center, Center for Molecular Medicine and Immunology, Belleville, New Jersey 07109, USA.


CD74 is an integral membrane protein that functions as a MHC class II chaperone. Moreover, it has recently been shown to have a role as an accessory-signaling molecule and has been implicated in malignant B-cell proliferation and survival. These biological functions combined with expression of CD74 on malignant B cells and limited expression on normal tissues implicate CD74 as a potential therapeutic target. The anti-CD74 monoclonal antibody LL1 has been humanized (hLL1 milatuzumab or IMMU-115) and can provide the basis for novel therapeutic approaches to B-cell malignancies, particularly because this antibody shows rapid internalization into CD74+ malignant cells. This article reviews the preclinical evaluations of LL1, its humanized form, and isotope, drug, and toxin conjugates. These studies show that unconjugated hLL1 and conjugates of hLL1 constructs with radioisotopes, doxorubicin, and frog RNase have high antitumor activity in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and multiple myeloma in vitro and in tumor xenograft models. Single-dose studies of hLL1 in monkeys showed no adverse effects but did decrease circulating B and T lymphocytes and natural killer cells. When evaluated in combination with rituximab, either equivalent or improved efficacy, compared with either antibody alone, was observed. CD74 is a new candidate target for the immunotherapy of neoplasms expressing this antigen, which can be exploited using either a naked antibody or conjugated to isotopes, drugs, or toxins.

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