CD38 is a transmembrane glycoprotein found on the surface of immune cells, including a range of bone marrow cells. In peripheral blood, CD38 is expressed on approximately 90% of plasma cells and approximately 60% of natural killer cells and monocytes. In normal cells, CD38 has many roles, in some instances stimulating lymphocytes, and in other circumstances inhibiting cell growth in B cell precursors.1
CD38 is an attractive target for antibody therapy because it is highly expressed on malignant plasma cells.2 In multiple myeloma, more than 90% of malignant plasma cells show surface expression of CD38. Expression is also seen in B cell and T cell neoplasms.
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CD: cluster of differentiation.
1. Atanackovic D, Steinbach M, Radhakrishnan SV, Luetkens T. Immunotherapies targeting CD38 in multiple myeloma. Oncoimmunology. 2016;5(11):e1217374.2. Fedele G, Di Girolamo M, Recine U, et al. CD38 ligation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of myeloma patients induces release of protumorigenic IL-6 and impaired secretion of IFN𝛾 cytokines and proliferation. Mediators Inflamm. 2013;2013:564687. doi:10.1155/2013/564687.