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New emerging targets in cancer immunotherapy: CD27 (TNFRSF7)
  1. Angelika M. Starzer1,2,
  2. Anna S. Berghoff1,2
  1. 1Division of Oncology, Department of Medicine I, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  2. 2Comprehensive Cancer Center, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  1. Correspondence to Dr Anna S. Berghoff; anna.berghoff{at}


Cluster of differentiation 27 (CD27) is a member of the tumour necrosis factor receptor superfamily and plays a key role in T-cell activation by providing a costimulatory signal. Bound to its natural ligand CD70, CD27 signalling enhances T-cell proliferation and differentiation to effector and memory T cells and therefore has potential as an immune modulatory target in cancer treatment. The CD27 agonistic antibody varlilumab showed promising efficacy in haematological as well as solid cancers. Current studies investigate the combination of the CD27 agonistic antibody varlilumab in combination with the PD1 axis targeting immune checkpoint inhibitors like nivolumab or atezolizumab. Further, CD70 expression is used as a therapeutic target for ADCs, antibodies inducing ADCC, as well as the immunological target for chimeric antigen receptor gene-modified T cells and specific dendritic cell vaccination. In line with this, targeting the CD27 axis was shown to be feasible and safe in early clinical trials with the most commonly occurring side effects being thrombocytopenia, fatigue and nausea. In this mini review, we aimed to elucidate the immunobiology of CD27 and its potential as a target in cancer immunotherapy.

  • CD27
  • CD70
  • costimulatory receptor
  • immunotherapy

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  • Contributors AMS performed the literature search and wrote the manuscript. ASB corrected and wrote the manuscript.

  • Funding This review was performed within the PhD thesis of AMS with the title 'Immune Monitoring in Cancer Patients' in the N790 programme at the Medical University Vienna, Austria. The PhD project is supported by the research budget of the Medical University of Vienna and an unrestricted research grant by Hoffmann La Roche.

  • Competing interests ASB has research support from Daiichi Sankyo, Hoffmann La-Roche and honoraria for lectures, consultation or advisory board participation from Roche, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Merck, Daiichi Sankyo, as well as travel support from Roche, Amgen and AbbVie. AMS has no conflicts of interest to declare.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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