Novel Insights in Anti-CD38 Therapy Based on CD38-Receptor Expression and Function: the Multiple Myeloma Model

Beatrice Anna Zannetti, Angelo Corso Faini, Evita Massari, Massimo Geuna, Enrico Maffini, Giovanni Poletti, Claudio Cerchione, Giovanni Martinelli, Fabio Malavasi, Francesco Lanza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Multiple myeloma (MM) is a hematological disease characterized by the proliferation and accumulation of malignant plasmacells (PCs) in the bone marrow (BM). Despite widespread use of high-dose chemotherapy in combination with autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) and the introduction of novel agents (immunomodulatory drugs, IMiDs, and proteasome inhibitors, PIs), the prognosis of MM patients is still poor. CD38 is a multifunctional cell-surface glycoprotein with receptor and ectoenzymatic activities. The very high and homogeneous expression of CD38 on myeloma PCs makes it an attractive target for novel therapeutic strategies. Several anti-CD38 monoclonal antibodies have been, or are being, developed for the treatment of MM, including daratumumab and isatuximab. Here we provide an in-depth look atCD38 biology, the role of CD38 in MM progression and its complex interactions with the BM microenvironment, the importance of anti-CD38 monoclonal antibodies, and the main mechanisms of antibody resistance. We then review a number of multiparametric flow cytometry techniques exploiting CD38 antigen expression on PCs to diagnose and monitor the response to treatment in MM patients.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 11 2020


  • anti-CD38 monoclonal antibodies
  • bone marrow microenvironment
  • CD38
  • CD38 antigen expression in various tissues
  • multiple myeloma
  • plasmacells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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