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J Thorac Dis. 2017 Feb;9(2):E168-E174. doi: 10.21037/jtd.2017.02.30.

Targeting CD47: the achievements and concerns of current studies on cancer immunotherapy.

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Department of Immunology, Tianjin Key Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Immunology, Key Laboratory of Educational Ministry of China, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin 300071, China.
Center for Molecular Medicine, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
University of the District of Columbia, Washington D.C., USA.


Targeting CD47 is in the spotlight of cancer immunotherapy. Blocking CD47 triggers the recognition and elimination of cancer cells by the innate immunity. There are three CD47 antagonists in phase I clinical trials, but their potential efficacies are highly controversial. We raise our concern that NOD-based xenograft hosts tend to overestimate, while syngeneic mouse models could substantially underestimate the efficacy of anti-CD47 therapy. Such discrepancy may be resulted from specific reagent that alters CD47 clustering, and the highly variable avidities of interspecies and intraspecies CD47-SIRPα interaction. This problem can be addressed by alternative animal models for better recapitulation of human CD47-SIRPα interaction. Both fragment crystallizable (Fc) fragment-dependent effects, like antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC), and Fc-independent CD47 intrinsic functions are involved in anti-CD47 therapy. The latter may be SIRPα-dependent or SIRPα-independent, such as the case of calreticulin. It has not reached a consensus which of the factors predominate the process, but the answer to this question will determine the optimal pharmaceutical and clinical design of CD47 targeting strategies.


CD47; antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC); calreticulin; syngeneic; xenograft

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Conflicts of Interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

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