CCR4 as a novel molecular target for immunotherapy of cancer

Cancer Sci. 2006 Nov;97(11):1139-46. doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2006.00307.x. Epub 2006 Sep 5.


Leukocyte trafficking, which is critically regulated by chemokines and their receptors, shares many of the characteristics of tumor cell infiltration and metastasis. Expression of CC chemokine receptor 4 (CCR4) by tumor cells is associated with skin involvement, but CCR4 also has an important role in normal and tumor immunity. In a subset of patients with CCR4(+) T-cell leukemia/lymphoma, the tumor cells themselves function as regulatory T (Treg) cells, contributing to tumor survival in the face of host antitumor immune responses. In other types of cancers, the chemokines TARC/CCL17 and MDC/CCL22, specific ligands for CCR4 that are produced by tumor cells and the tumor microenvironment, attract CCR4(+) Treg cells to the tumor, where they create a favorable environment for tumor escape from host immune responses. A novel humanized anti-CCR4 monoclonal antibody (mAb) has been developed, the Fc region of which is defucosylated to enhance antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity by increasing its binding affinity to Fc receptor on effector cells. We are now conducting a phase I clinical trial of this anti-CCR4 mAb in patients with CCR4(+) T-cell leukemia/lymphoma in Japan (clinical trials gov. identifier: NCT00355472). Anti-CCR4 mAb could be an ideal treatment modality for many different cancers, not only to directly kill the CCR4(+) tumor cells, but also to overcome the suppressive effect of CCR4(+) Treg cells on the host immune response to tumor cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Receptors, CCR4
  • Receptors, Chemokine / metabolism*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism


  • CCR4 protein, human
  • Receptors, CCR4
  • Receptors, Chemokine

Associated data