The biology and rationale of targeting nectin-4 in urothelial carcinoma

Nat Rev Urol. 2021 Feb;18(2):93-103. doi: 10.1038/s41585-020-00394-5. Epub 2020 Nov 25.


Bladder cancer is the tenth most common cancer type worldwide. Urothelial carcinoma is the most common type of bladder cancer and accounts for 90% of bladder cancer cases in the USA and Europe. Novel approaches are needed to improve patient outcomes. Nectin-4 is a tumour-associated antigen found on the surface of most urothelial carcinoma cells. In the antibody-drug conjugate enfortumab vedotin, human anti-nectin-4 antibody is linked to the cytotoxic microtubule-disrupting agent monomethyl auristatin E. In ongoing phase I, II and III clinical trials, enfortumab vedotin has been evaluated as a monotherapy and in combination with a checkpoint inhibitor and/or chemotherapy in locally advanced and metastatic urothelial carcinoma. Encouraging data from the phase II study resulted in the FDA granting accelerated approval for enfortumab vedotin in December 2019 for patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma who were previously treated with platinum and a checkpoint inhibitor therapy. Moreover, data from a phase I study led to the FDA granting breakthrough therapy designation to enfortumab vedotin combined with pembrolizumab as a first-line treatment in February 2020 for cisplatin-ineligible patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma. Results of ongoing and future combination studies of enfortumab vedotin with immunotherapy and other novel agents are eagerly awaited.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / secondary
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Survival Rate
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • nectin4 protein, human
  • enfortumab vedotin