B7-H3: An Attractive Target for Antibody-based Immunotherapy

Clin Cancer Res. 2021 Mar 1;27(5):1227-1235. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-2584. Epub 2020 Oct 13.


The recent impressive clinical responses to antibody-based immunotherapy have prompted the identification of clinically relevant tumor antigens that can serve as targets in solid tumors. Among them, B7-H3, a member of the B7 ligand family, represents an attractive target for antibody-based immunotherapy, it is overexpressed on differentiated malignant cells and cancer-initiating cells, with limited heterogeneity, and high frequency (60% of 25,000 tumor samples) in many different cancer types, but has a limited expression at low level in normal tissues. In nonmalignant tissues, B7-H3 has a predominantly inhibitory role in adaptive immunity, suppressing T-cell activation and proliferation. In malignant tissues, B7-H3 inhibits tumor antigen-specific immune responses, leading to a protumorigenic effect. B7-H3 also has nonimmunologic protumorigenic functions, such as promoting migration and invasion, angiogenesis, chemoresistance, and endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition, as well as affecting tumor cell metabolism. As a result, B7-H3 expression in tumors is associated with poor prognosis. Although experimental B7-H3 silencing reduces cancer cell malignant potential, there has been limited emphasis on the development of B7-H3-blocking antibodies, most likely because the B7-H3 receptor remains unknown. Instead, many antibody-based strategies utilizing distinct effector mechanisms to target B7-H3-expressing cancer cells have been developed. These strategies have demonstrated potent antitumor activity and acceptable safety profiles in preclinical models. Ongoing clinical trials are assessing their safety and efficacy in patients. Identification of the B7-H3 receptor will improve our understanding of its role in tumor immunity, and will suggest rational strategies to develop blocking antibodies, which may enhance the therapeutic efficacy of tumor immunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • B7 Antigens / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • B7 Antigens
  • CD276 protein, human