The B cell receptor (BCR) pathway has been identified as a potential therapeutic target in a number of common B cell malignancies, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia, diffuse large B cell lymphoma, Burkitt lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma, marginal zone B cell lymphoma, and Waldenstromʹs macroglobulinemia. This finding has resulted in the development of numerous drugs that target this pathway, including various inhibitors of the kinases BTK, PI3K, and SYK. Several of these drugs have been approved in recent years for clinical use, resulting in a profound change in the way these diseases are currently being treated. However, the response rates and durability of responses vary largely across the different disease entities, suggesting a different proportion of patients with an activated BCR pathway and different mechanisms of BCR pathway activation. Indeed, several antigen-dependent and antigen-independent mechanisms have recently been described and shown to result in the activation of distinct downstream signaling pathways. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of the mechanisms responsible for the activation of the BCR pathway in different B cell malignancies and to correlate these mechanisms with clinical responses to treatment with BCR inhibitors.
- B-cell receptor
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia