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CD30 as a therapeutic target for lymphoma

Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL) and ALK(+) anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL) have become highly curable due to the success of modern regimens of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. However, up to one-third of the patients experience relapse or do not respond to first-line therapy, and half of them relapse again after secondary therapy with limited options for further treatment. In the last 15 years, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) directed to surface receptors became a new and valuable therapeutic option in many hematologic malignancies. Due to its restricted expression on normal activated lymphocytes and its high expression on malignant cells, CD30 represents an attractive target molecule for HL and ALCL therapy. However, unconjugated CD30 mAbs have demonstrated a lack of objective clinical responses in patients with recurrent HL. CD30 exhibits complex signaling pathways, and binding of its natural ligand or anti-CD30 mAbs can induce apoptosis but may also promote proliferation and activation depending on the cellular context. Moreover, CD30 rapidly internalizes after crosslinking, which counteracts efficient recruitment of immunologic effectors but also provides the opportunity to transfer cytotoxic payloads coupled to CD30-specific mAbs into the tumor cells. Several tumor targeting approaches have been studied, including radio-immunoconjugates, immunotoxins, immunoRNases, immunokinases, and antibody drug conjugates (ADCs).

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