Targeting folate receptor alpha for cancer treatment

Anthony Cheung, Heather J. Bax, Debra H. Josephs, Kristina M. Ilieva, Giulia Pellizzari, James Opzoomer, Jacinta Bloomfield, Matthew Fittall, Anita Grigoriadis, Mariangela Figini, Silvana Canevari, James F. Spicer, Andrew N. Tutt, Sophia N. Karagiannis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Promising targeted treatments and immunotherapy strategies in oncology and advancements in our understanding of molecular pathways that underpin cancer development have reignited interest in the tumor-associated antigen Folate Receptor alpha (FRα). FRα is a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored membrane protein. Its overexpression in tumors such as ovarian, breast and lung cancers, low and restricted distribution in normal tissues, alongside emerging insights into tumorpromoting functions and association of expression with patient prognosis, together render FRα an attractive therapeutic target. In this review, we summarize the role of FRα in cancer development, we consider FRα as a potential diagnostic and prognostic tool, and we discuss different targeted treatment approaches with a specific focus on monoclonal antibodies. Renewed attention to FRα may point to novel individualized treatment approaches to improve the clinical management of patient groups that do not adequately benefit from current conventional therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52553-52574
Number of pages22
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Biomarker
  • Cancer
  • Folate receptor alpha
  • Immunotherapy
  • Monoclonal antibodies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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