Novel Insights Into Membrane Targeting of B Cell Lymphoma

Trends Cancer. 2017 Jun;3(6):442-453. doi: 10.1016/j.trecan.2017.04.006. Epub 2017 May 14.


Standard therapy of patients with B cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (B-NHL) predominantly consists of chemotherapy combined with anti-CD20 (e.g., rituximab) immunotherapy. However, relapse of aggressive B-NHL occurs frequently, and this may coincide with therapy resistance. This demonstrates the urgent need for exploring new lymphoma-targeted therapies. We review here recent insights in the pathophysiology of B-NHL and discuss CD20 and three alternative membrane targets (B cell receptor, immune checkpoints PD-1/PD-L1, tetraspanin CD37) that are currently in the spotlight for B-NHL treatment. Furthermore, we present a novel concept in which the plasma membrane organization of the lymphoma B cell determines the efficacy of membrane-targeted therapies, and this has consequences for treatment application and clinical outcome in patients with B cell lymphoma.

Keywords: B cell; immunotherapy; membrane organization; membrane target; non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD20 / metabolism
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation / drug effects
  • Immunotherapy
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / drug therapy
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / etiology*
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / metabolism*
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / pathology
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / metabolism


  • Antigens, CD20
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell