Background: Malignant mesothelioma is a largely incurable disease that is refractory to current therapies. CD26 is a multifunctional cell surface protein involved in autoimmune disease, diabetes, and cancer. It has a role in T cell function, extracellular protein modification, as a prognostic factor for cancer, and as a therapeutic target for malignant mesothelioma. New treatment strategies are urgently needed for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), and CD26-targeted therapy represents a novel approach.
Outline: In this review, the most current and up-to-date literature available was reviewed and the current state of malignant mesothelioma treatment is described. Throughout the review the need for new therapeutic approaches is highlighted in the shortcomings of current therapy. CD26 is a target that is fit to take on these shortcomings. In this review we discuss the structure and function of CD26, its role in malignant mesothelioma and the future of anti-CD26 therapy as a versatile immunotherapeutic option.
Conclusion: This review highlights the areas of most promise in treating MPM, these include immune checkpoint blockade, passive immunization, and based on our recently published data, targeting of CD26 with its specific mAb. Finally we describe how the anti-CD26 mAb YS110 was recently evaluated in the first-in-human phase I clinical trial, showing prolonged disease stabilization and a favorable side effect profile. Through better understanding of CD26, new pathways to treating and potentially curing malignant mesothelioma may be discovered.