Genetic and Epigenetic Modulation of CD20 Expression in B-Cell Malignancies: Molecular Mechanisms and Significance to Rituximab Resistance

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Abstract

CD20 is a differentiation related cell surface phosphoprotein that is expressed during early pre-B cell stages until plasma cell differentiation, and is a suitable molecular target for B-cell malignancies by monoclonal antibodies such as rituximab, ofatumumab, obinutuzumab and others. CD20 expression is confirmed in most B-cell malignancies; however, the protein expression level varies in each patient, even in de novo tumors, and down-modulation of CD20 expression after chemoimmunotherapy with rituximab, resulting in rituximab resistance, has been recognized in the clinical setting. Recent reports suggest that genetic and epigenetic mechanisms are correlated with aberrantly low CD20 expression in de novo tumors and relapsed/refractory disease after using rituximab. Furthermore, some targeting drugs, such as lenalidomide, bortezomib and ibrutinib, directly or indirectly affect CD20 protein expression. CD20-negative phenotypically-changed DLBCL after rituximab use tends to show an aggressive clinical course and poor outcome with resistance to not only rituximab, but also conventional salvage chemo-regimens. Understanding of the mechanisms of CD20-negative phenotype may contribute to establish strategies for overcoming chemo-refractory B-cell malignancies. In this manuscript, recent progress of research on molecular and clinical features of CD20 protein and CD20-negative B-cell malignancies was reviewed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-99
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of clinical and experimental hematopathology : JCEH
Volume56
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)

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