One of the most challenging aspects of cancer therapeutics is target selection. Recently, CD46 (membrane cofactor protein; MCP) has emerged as a key player in both malignant transformation as well as in cancer treatments. Normally a regulator of complement activation, CD46 is co-expressed as four predominant isoforms on almost all cell types. CD46 is highly overexpressed on a variety of human tumor cells. Clinical and experimental data support an association between increased CD46 expression and malignant transformation and metastasizing potential. Further, CD46 is a newly discovered driver of metabolic processes and plays a role in the intracellular complement system (complosome). CD46 is also known as a pathogen magnet due to its role as a receptor for numerous microbes, including several species of measles virus and adenoviruses. Strains of these two viruses have been exploited as vectors for the therapeutic development of oncolytic agents targeting CD46. In addition, monoclonal antibody-drug conjugates against CD46 also are being clinically evaluated. As a result, there are multiple early-phase clinical trials targeting CD46 to treat a variety of cancers. Here, we review CD46 relative to these oncologic connections.

Original languageEnglish
Article number59
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Adenovirus
  • Antibody-drug conjugates
  • Cancer therapeutics
  • CD46
  • Complement
  • Measles virus
  • Membrane cofactor protein (MCP)


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