CD26, a 110-kDa transmembrane glycoprotein that is expressed on several tumor cells including malignant lymphoma, has been implicated in tumorigenesis: however, little is known regarding its role in multiple myeloma (MM). Recently, we identified CD26 expression on human osteoclasts (OCs) and demonstrated that humanized IgG1 monoclonal antibody targeting CD26, huCD26mAb, inhibits human OC differentiation. Herein, we show that CD26 expression was present on plasma cells in the bone marrow tissues of MM patients. In vitro immunostaining studies revealed that although CD26 expression was low or absent on MM cell lines cultured alone, it was intensely and uniformly expressed on MM cell lines co-cultured with OCs. The augmented CD26 expression in MM cells was exploited to enhance anti-MM efficacy of huCD26mAb via a substantial increase in antibody-dependent cytotoxicity (ADCC) but not complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC). Moreover, huCD26mAb in combination with novel agents synergistically enhanced huCD26mAb induced ADCC activity against CD26+ MM cells compared with each agent alone. huCD26mAb additionally reduced the ratio of the side population (SP) fraction in CD26+ MM cells by ADCC. Finally, huCD26mAb significantly reduced the MM tumor burden and OC formation in vivo. These results suggest that CD26 is a potential target molecule in MM and that huCD26mAb could act as a therapeutic agent.
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