The Pharmacology of CD38/NADase: An Emerging Target in Cancer and Diseases of Aging

Eduardo N. Chini, Claudia C.S. Chini, Jair Machado Espindola Netto, Guilherme C. de Oliveira, Wim van Schooten

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Recent reports indicate that intracellular NAD levels decline in tissues during chronological aging, and that therapies aimed at increasing cellular NAD levels could have beneficial effects in many age-related diseases. The protein CD38 (cluster of differentiation 38) is a multifunctional enzyme that degrades NAD and modulates cellular NAD homeostasis. At the physiological level, CD38 has been implicated in the regulation of metabolism and in the pathogenesis of multiple conditions including aging, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and inflammation. Interestingly, many of these functions are mediated by CD38 enzymatic activity. In addition, CD38 has also been identified as a cell-surface marker in hematologic cancers such as multiple myeloma, and a cytotoxic anti-CD38 antibody has been approved by the FDA for use in this disease. Although this is a remarkable development, killing CD38-positive tumor cells with cytotoxic anti-CD38 antibodies is only one of the potential pharmacological uses of targeting CD38. The present review discusses the biology of the CD38 enzyme and the current state of development of pharmacological tools aimed at CD38, and explores how these agents may represent a novel approach for treating human conditions including cancer, metabolic disease, and diseases of aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-436
Number of pages13
JournalTrends in Pharmacological Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • CD38
  • NAD
  • NADase
  • aging
  • antibodies
  • cancer and metabolism
  • sirtuins
  • small molecules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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