The receptor tyrosine kinase ROR1--an oncofetal antigen for targeted cancer therapy

Semin Cancer Biol. 2014 Dec;29:21-31. doi: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2014.07.005. Epub 2014 Jul 25.


Targeted cancer therapies have emerged as new treatment options for various cancer types. Among targets, receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) are among the most promising. ROR1 is a transmembrane RTK of importance during the normal embryogenesis for the central nervous system, heart, lung and skeletal systems, but is not expressed in normal adult tissues. However, ROR1 is overexpressed in several human malignancies and may act as a survival factor for tumor cells. Its unique expression by malignant cells may provide a target for novel therapeutics including monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and small molecule inhibitors of tyrosine kinases (TKI) for the treatment of cancer. Promising preclinical results have been reported in e.g. chronic lymphocytic leukemia, pancreatic carcinoma, lung and breast cancer. ROR1 might also be an interesting oncofetal antigen for active immunotherapy. In this review, we provide an overview of the ROR1 structure and functions in cancer and highlight emerging therapeutic options of interest for targeting ROR1 in tumor therapy.

Keywords: Cancer therapy; Monoclonal antibodies; ROR1; Tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / biosynthesis
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology*
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / metabolism
  • Embryonic Development
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Active
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Receptor Tyrosine Kinase-like Orphan Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptor Tyrosine Kinase-like Orphan Receptors / biosynthesis
  • Receptor Tyrosine Kinase-like Orphan Receptors / metabolism


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • oncofetal antigens
  • ROR1 protein, human
  • Receptor Tyrosine Kinase-like Orphan Receptors