B cell maturation antigen (BCMA) is a member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily that plays an important role in regulating B cell proliferation and survival.1 BCMA is expressed on the cell membrane of normal and malignant B lymphocytes and plasma cells, but not other normal tissues.2,3 When bound to its ligands BAFF and APRIL, BCMA delivers pro-survival cell signaling.4
BCMA is central to the survival of multiple myeloma cells.1 BCMA, BAFF, and APRIL are all expressed at significantly higher levels in patients with multiple myeloma than in healthy individuals.1,5 Overexpression leads to upregulation of anti-apoptotic proteins and the survival of multiple myeloma cells.1 Upregulation of BCMA also correlates with disease burden and poor prognosis in multiple myeloma.1
BCMA represents a promising antigen target for novel multiple myeloma therapies.
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APRIL: A proliferation inducing ligand; BAFF: B cell activating factor from the TNF family.
1. Cho S-F, Anderson KC, Tai Y-T. Targeting B cell maturation antigen (BCMA) in multiple myeloma: potential uses of BCMA-based immunotherapy. Front Immunol. 2018;9:1821. 2. Huang H-W, Chen C-H, Lin C-H, Wong C-H, Lin K-I. B-cell maturation antigen is modified by a single N-glycan chain that modulates ligand binding and surface retention. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013;110(27):10928-109333. 3. Hatzoglou A, Roussel F, Bourgeade M-F, et al. TNF receptor family member BCMA (B cell maturation) associates with TNF receptor-associated factor (TRAF) 1, TRAF2, and TRAF3 and activates NF-κB, Elk-1, c-Jun N-terminal kinase, and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase. J Immunol. 2000;165(3):1322-1330.4. Coquery CM, Erickson LD. Regulatory roles of the tumor necrosis factor receptor BCMA. Crit Rev Immunol. 2012;32(4):287-305. 5. Moreaux J, Legouffe E, Jourdan E, et al. BAFF and APRIL protect myeloma cells from apoptosis induced by interleukin 6 deprivation and dexamethasone. Blood. 2004;103(8):3148-3157.