CD137 as an Attractive T Cell Co-Stimulatory Target in the TNFRSF for Immuno-Oncology Drug Development

Kenji Hashimoto
2021 Cancers  
Immune checkpoint inhibitors have altered the treatment landscape significantly in several cancers, yet not enough for many cancer patients. T cell costimulatory receptors have been pursued as targets for the next generation of cancer immunotherapies, however, sufficient clinical efficacy has not yet been achieved. CD137 (TNFRSF9, 4-1BB) provides co-stimulatory signals and activates cytotoxic effects of CD8+ T cells and helps to form memory T cells. In addition, CD137 signalling can activate NK
more » ... cells and dendritic cells which further supports cytotoxic T cell activation. An agonistic monoclonal antibody to CD137, urelumab, provided promising clinical efficacy signals but the responses were achieved above the maximum tolerated dose. Utomilumab is another CD137 monoclonal antibody to CD137 but is not as potent as urelumab. Recent advances in antibody engineering technologies have enabled mitigation of the hepato-toxicity that hampered clinical application of urelumab and have enabled to maintain similar potency to urelumab. Next generation CD137 targeting molecules currently in clinical trials support T cell and NK cell expansion in patient samples. CD137 targeting molecules in combination with checkpoint inhibitors or ADCC-enhancing monoclonal antibodies have been sought to improve both clinical safety and efficacy. Further investigation on patient samples will be required to provide insights to understand compensating pathways for future combination strategies involving CD137 targeting agents to optimize and maintain the T cell activation status in tumors.
doi:10.3390/cancers13102288 pmid:34064598 fatcat:7islyhvxyzc5lkvruhjvyxtyta