Lenalidomide enhances MOR202-dependent macrophage-mediated effector functions via the vitamin D pathway

Leukemia. 2018 Nov;32(11):2445-2458. doi: 10.1038/s41375-018-0114-0. Epub 2018 Mar 28.


Macrophages are key mediators of the therapeutic effects exerted by monoclonal antibodies, such as the anti-CD38 antibody MOR202, currently introduced in multiple myeloma (MM) therapy. Therefore, it is important to understand how antibody-mediated effector functions of myeloma-associated macrophages (MAMs) are regulated. Here, we focused on the effects of vitamin D, a known regulator of macrophage effector functions. Consequently, it was the aim of this study to assess whether modulation of the vitamin D pathway alters the tumoricidal activity of MAMs. Here, we demonstrate that MAMs display a defective vitamin D pathway with reduced expression level of CYP27B1 and limited tumoricidal activity which can be restored by the IMiD lenalidomide in vitro. Furthermore, our data indicate that the vitamin D pathway of MAMs from MM patients does recover during an IMiD-containing therapy shown by an improved MOR202-mediated cytotoxic activity of these MAMs against primary MM cells ex vivo. Here, the ex vivo cytotoxic activity could be further enhanced by vitamin D supplementation. These data suggest that vitamin D holds a key role for the effector functions of MAMs and that vitamin D supplementation in IMiD combination trials could further increase the therapeutic efficacy of anti-CD38 antibodies such as MOR202, which remains to be investigated in clinical studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 1-alpha-Hydroxylase / metabolism
  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase 1 / metabolism
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cytotoxins / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Lenalidomide / pharmacology*
  • Macrophages / drug effects*
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Multiple Myeloma / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Myeloma / metabolism*
  • Vitamin D / metabolism*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Cytotoxins
  • Vitamin D
  • 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 1-alpha-Hydroxylase
  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase 1
  • Lenalidomide