Gene Summary

Gene:CD28; CD28 molecule
Aliases: Tp44
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is essential for T-cell proliferation and survival, cytokine production, and T-helper type-2 development. Several alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene.[provided by RefSeq, Jul 2011]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:T-cell-specific surface glycoprotein CD28
Source:NCBIAccessed: 06 August, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (30)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
Show (12)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 06 August 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic
  • Polymorphism
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • CTLA-4 Antigen
  • Inducible T-Cell Co-Stimulator Protein
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Antigens, CD28
  • Antigens, CD3
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Genotype
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive
  • Antigens, CD80
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Skin Cancer
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Transfection
  • Chromosome 2
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Tumor Markers
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Gene Expression
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Telomerase
  • Cultured Cells
  • T-Cell Antigen Receptors
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Xenograft Models
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Monoclonal Antibodies
  • CD Antigens
  • Cytokines
  • T-Lymphocytes
Tag cloud generated 06 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (1)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: CD28 (cancer-related)

Watanabe K, Terakura S, Martens AC, et al.
Target antigen density governs the efficacy of anti-CD20-CD28-CD3 ζ chimeric antigen receptor-modified effector CD8+ T cells.
J Immunol. 2015; 194(3):911-20 [PubMed] Related Publications
The effectiveness of chimeric Ag receptor (CAR)-transduced T (CAR-T) cells has been attributed to supraphysiological signaling through CARs. Second- and later-generation CARs simultaneously transmit costimulatory signals with CD3ζ signals upon ligation, but may lead to severe adverse effects owing to the recognition of minimal Ag expression outside the target tumor. Currently, the threshold target Ag density for CAR-T cell lysis and further activation, including cytokine production, has not yet been investigated in detail. Therefore, we determined the threshold target Ag density required to induce CAR-T cell responses using novel anti-CD20 CAR-T cells with a CD28 intracellular domain and a CD20-transduced CEM cell model. The newly developed CD20CAR-T cells demonstrated Ag-specific lysis and cytokine secretion, which was a reasonable level as a second-generation CAR. For lytic activity, the threshold Ag density was determined to be ∼200 molecules per target cell, whereas the Ag density required for cytokine production of CAR-T cells was ∼10-fold higher, at a few thousand per target cell. CD20CAR-T cells responded efficiently to CD20-downregulated lymphoma and leukemia targets, including rituximab- or ofatumumab-refractory primary chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells. Despite the potential influence of the structure, localization, and binding affinity of the CAR/Ag, the threshold determined may be used for target Ag selection. An Ag density below the threshold may not result in adverse effects, whereas that above the threshold may be sufficient for practical effectiveness. CD20CAR-T cells also demonstrated significant lytic activity against CD20-downregulated tumor cells and may exhibit effectiveness for CD20-positive lymphoid malignancies.

Wu D, Tang R, Qi Q, et al.
Five functional polymorphisms of B7/CD28 co-signaling molecules alter susceptibility to colorectal cancer.
Cell Immunol. 2015; 293(1):41-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Polymorphisms within the 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) of genes have been proved to contribute to the risk of cancers. Here, we determined 16 putatively functional polymorphisms in the 3'-UTR of 11 B7/CD28 genes in 382 colorectal cancer patients and 714 healthy controls. Statistical analysis revealed that ICOS rs4404254-C-allele carriers (p=0.0014), rs1559931-A-allele carriers (p=0.0027), and rs4675379-C-allele carriers (p=0.026) were significantly fewer in patients than those in controls. B7-H4-rs13505-GG homozygotes were more prevalent in patients (p=0.03). CD80-rs7628626-GT was apparently less in the patients with lymph node metastasis (p=0.004) or in advanced stage (p=0.037). Furthermore, we found that these polymorphisms impacted the regulatory role of miR-21-3p, miR-186-5p, miR-323b-5p, miR-1207-5p, miR-1279, miR-2117, and miR-3692-3p in the expression of the B7/CD28 molecules. Our findings suggest that rs7628626, rs13505, rs4404254, rs1559931, and rs4675379, through disrupting the regulatory role of miRNAs in the expression of B7/CD28 molecules, contribute to the occurrence and progress of colorectal cancer.

Zhao D, Long XD, Lu TF, et al.
Metformin decreases IL-22 secretion to suppress tumor growth in an orthotopic mouse model of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Int J Cancer. 2015; 136(11):2556-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
Epidemiological, preclinical and cellular studies in the last 5 years have shown that metformin exerts anti-tumoral properties, but its mode of action in cancer remains unclear. Here, we investigated the effects of metformin on a mouse hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) model and tumor-associated T cell immune responses. Oral metformin administration led to a significant reduction of tumor growth, which was accompanied by decreased interleukin-22 (IL-22). Meanwhile, IL-22-induced STAT3 phosphorylation and upregulation of downstream genes Bcl-2 and cyclin D1 were inhibited by metformin. At the cellular level, metformin attenuated Th1- and Th17-derived IL-22 production. Furthermore, metformin inhibited de novo generation of Th1 and Th17 cells from naive CD4(+) cells. These observations were further supported by the fact that metformin treatment inhibited CD3/CD28-induced IFN-γ and IL-17A expression along with the transcription factors that drive their expression (T-bet [Th1] and ROR-γt [Th17], respectively). The effects of metformin on T cell differentiation were mediated by downregulated STAT3 and STAT4 phosphorylation via the AMP-activated kinase-mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 pathway. Notably, metformin led to a reduction in glucose transporter Glut1 expression, resulting in less glucose uptake, which is critical to regulate CD4(+) T cell fate. Taken together, these findings provide evidence for the growth-inhibitory and immune-modulatory effects of metformin in HCC and thus, broaden our understanding about the action of metformin in liver cancer treatment.

Laytragoon-Lewin N, Jönson F, Lundgren J, et al.
Perforin, CD28 and CD95 expression in circulating CD4 and CD8 cells as predictors of head and neck (H&N) cancer patient survival.
Med Oncol. 2014; 31(12):290 [PubMed] Related Publications
Long-term survival of H&N cancer patients has not improved significantly over the last 30 years. The possibility of using circulating blood cell phenotypes as a prognostic biomarker of H&N cancer patient was investigated in this study. Pre-treatment, circulating T lymphocyte subpopulations as well as the survival time of the patients in question were studied. Upregulated CD4+ perforin+ and CD8+ CD95+ but downregulated CD4+ CD28+ (p < 0.001) were detected in H&N cancer patients. With 3 years of follow-up time, an increase in the frequency of the pre-treatment, circulating CD4+ perforin+ cells and CD8+ perforin+ cells was showed to have reverse effects on the survival time in H&N cancer patients (p < 0.01). Detection of perforin+ frequency in CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocyte by FACS is fast, simple and cost-effective. A potential role of perforin expression in CD4+ and CD8+ cells as a prognostic biomarker for H&N cancer patient in the clinical setting was suggested.

Govers C, Sebestyén Z, Roszik J, et al.
TCRs genetically linked to CD28 and CD3ε do not mispair with endogenous TCR chains and mediate enhanced T cell persistence and anti-melanoma activity.
J Immunol. 2014; 193(10):5315-26 [PubMed] Related Publications
Adoptive transfer of T cells that are gene engineered to express a defined TCR represents a feasible and promising therapy for patients with tumors. However, TCR gene therapy is hindered by the transient presence and effectiveness of transferred T cells, which are anticipated to be improved by adequate T cell costimulation. In this article, we report the identification and characterization of a novel two-chain TCR linked to CD28 and CD3ε (i.e., TCR:28ε). This modified TCR demonstrates enhanced binding of peptide-MHC and mediates enhanced T cell function following stimulation with peptide compared with wild-type TCR. Surface expression of TCR:28ε depends on the transmembrane domain of CD28, whereas T cell functions depend on the intracellular domains of both CD28 and CD3ε, with IL-2 production showing dependency on CD28:LCK binding. TCR:28ε, but not wild-type TCR, induces detectable immune synapses in primary human T cells, and such immune synapses show significantly enhanced accumulation of TCR transgenes and markers of early TCR signaling, such as phosphorylated LCK and ERK. Importantly, TCR:28ε does not show signs of off-target recognition, as evidenced by lack of TCR mispairing, as well as preserved specificity. Notably, when testing TCR:28ε in immune-competent mice, we observed a drastic increase in T cell survival, which was accompanied by regression of large melanomas with limited recurrence. Our data argue that TCR transgenes that contain CD28, and, thereby, may provide T cell costimulation in an immune-suppressive environment, represent candidate receptors to treat patients with tumors.

Mata M, Vera JF, Gerken C, et al.
Toward immunotherapy with redirected T cells in a large animal model: ex vivo activation, expansion, and genetic modification of canine T cells.
J Immunother. 2014; 37(8):407-15 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Adoptive transfer of T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) has shown promising antitumor activity in early phase clinical studies, especially for hematological malignancies. However, most preclinical models do not reliably mimic human disease. We reasoned that developing an adoptive T-cell therapy approach for spontaneous osteosarcoma (OS) occurring in dogs would more closely reproduce the condition in human cancer. To generate CAR-expressing canine T cells, we developed expansion and transduction protocols that allow for the generation of sufficient numbers of CAR-expressing canine T cells for future clinical studies in dogs within 2 weeks of ex vivo culture. To evaluate the functionality of CAR-expressing canine T cells, we targeted HER2(+) OS. We demonstrate that canine OS is positive for HER2, and that canine T cells expressing a HER2-specific CAR with human-derived transmembrane and CD28.ζ signaling domains recognize and kill HER2(+) canine OS cell lines in an antigen-dependent manner. To reduce the potential immunogenicity of the CAR, we evaluated a CAR with canine-derived transmembrane and signaling domains, and found no functional difference between human and canine CARs. Hence, we have successfully developed a strategy to generate CAR-expressing canine T cells for future preclinical studies in dogs. Testing T-cell therapies in an immunocompetent, outbred animal model may improve our ability to predict their safety and efficacy before conducting studies in humans.

Gomez-Eerland R, Nuijen B, Heemskerk B, et al.
Manufacture of gene-modified human T-cells with a memory stem/central memory phenotype.
Hum Gene Ther Methods. 2014; 25(5):277-87 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Advances in genetic engineering have made it possible to generate human T-cell products that carry desired functionalities, such as the ability to recognize cancer cells. The currently used strategies for the generation of gene-modified T-cell products lead to highly differentiated cells within the infusion product, and on the basis of data obtained in preclinical models, this is likely to impact the efficacy of these products. We set out to develop a good manufacturing practice (GMP) protocol that yields T-cell receptor (TCR) gene-modified T-cells with more favorable properties for clinical application. Here, we show the robust clinical-scale production of human peripheral blood T-cells with an early memory phenotype that express a MART-1-specific TCR. By combining selection and stimulation using anti-CD3/CD28 beads for retroviral transduction, followed by expansion in the presence of IL-7 and IL-15, production of a well-defined clinical-scale TCR gene-modified T-cell product could be achieved. A major fraction of the T-cells generated in this fashion were shown to coexpress CD62L and CD45RA, and express CD27 and CD28, indicating a central memory or memory stemlike phenotype. Furthermore, these cells produced IFNγ, TNFα, and IL-2 and displayed cytolytic activity against target cells expressing the relevant antigen. The T-cell products manufactured by this robust and validated GMP production process are now undergoing testing in a phase I/IIa clinical trial in HLA-A*02:01 MART-1-positive advanced stage melanoma patients. To our knowledge, this is the first clinical trial protocol in which the combination of IL-7 and IL-15 has been applied for the generation of gene-modified T-cell products.

Saito S, Nakazawa Y, Sueki A, et al.
Anti-leukemic potency of piggyBac-mediated CD19-specific T cells against refractory Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Cytotherapy. 2014; 16(9):1257-69 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND AIMS: To develop a treatment option for Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph(+)ALL) resistant to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), we evaluated the anti-leukemic activity of T cells non-virally engineered to express a CD19-specific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR).
METHODS: A CD19.CAR gene was delivered into mononuclear cells from 10 mL of blood of healthy donors through the use of piggyBac-transposons and the 4-D Nucleofector System. Nucleofected cells were stimulated with CD3/CD28 antibodies, magnetically selected for the CD19.CAR, and cultured in interleukin-15-containing serum-free medium with autologous feeder cells for 21 days. To evaluate their cytotoxic potency, we co-cultured CAR T cells with seven Ph(+)ALL cell lines including three TKI-resistant (T315I-mutated) lines at an effector-to-target ratio of 1:5 or lower without cytokines.
RESULTS: We obtained ∼1.3 × 10(8) CAR T cells (CD4(+), 25.4%; CD8(+), 71.3%), co-expressing CD45RA and CCR7 up to ∼80%. After 7-day co-culture, CAR T cells eradicated all tumor cells at the 1:5 and 1:10 ratios and substantially reduced tumor cell numbers at the 1:50 ratio. Kinetic analysis revealed up to 37-fold proliferation of CAR T cells during a 20-day culture period in the presence of tumor cells. On exposure to tumor cells, CAR T cells transiently and reproducibly upregulated the expression of transgene as well as tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand and interleukin-2.
CONCLUSIONS: We generated a clinically relevant number of CAR T cells from 10 mL of blood through the use of piggyBac-transposons, a 4D-Nulcleofector, and serum/xeno/tumor cell/virus-free culture system. CAR T cells exhibited marked cytotoxicity against Ph(+)ALL regardless of T315I mutation. PiggyBac-mediated CD19-specific T-cell therapy may provide an effective, inexpensive and safe option for drug-resistant Ph(+)ALL.

Stone JD, Harris DT, Soto CM, et al.
A novel T cell receptor single-chain signaling complex mediates antigen-specific T cell activity and tumor control.
Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2014; 63(11):1163-76 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
Adoptive transfer of genetically modified T cells to treat cancer has shown promise in several clinical trials. Two main strategies have been applied to redirect T cells against cancer: (1) introduction of a full-length T cell receptor (TCR) specific for a tumor-associated peptide-MHC, or (2) introduction of a chimeric antigen receptor, including an antibody fragment specific for a tumor cell surface antigen, linked intracellularly to T cell signaling domains. Each strategy has advantages and disadvantages for clinical applications. Here, we present data on the in vitro and in vivo effectiveness of a single-chain signaling receptor incorporating a TCR variable fragment as the targeting element (referred to as TCR-SCS). This receptor contained a single-chain TCR (Vα-linker-Vβ) from a high-affinity TCR called m33, linked to the intracellular signaling domains of CD28 and CD3ζ. This format avoided mispairing with endogenous TCR chains and mediated specific T cell activity when expressed in either CD4 or CD8 T cells. TCR-SCS-transduced CD8-negative cells showed an intriguing sensitivity, compared to full-length TCRs, to higher densities of less stable pepMHC targets. T cells that expressed this peptide-specific receptor persisted in vivo, and exhibited polyfunctional responses. Growth of metastatic antigen-positive tumors was significantly inhibited by T cells that expressed this receptor, and tumor cells that escaped were antigen-loss variants. TCR-SCS receptors represent an alternative targeting receptor strategy that combines the advantages of single-chain expression, avoidance of TCR chain mispairing, and targeting of intracellular antigens presented in complex with MHC proteins.

Wang C, Hu W, Shen L, et al.
Adoptive antitumor immunotherapy in vitro and in vivo using genetically activated erbB2-specific T cells.
J Immunother. 2014; 37(7):351-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
The use of human T lymphocytes genetically modified to express chimeric antigen receptors on their surfaces has emerged as a promising treatment strategy for malignant tumors. We have transfected primary human peripheral T lymphocytes with a recombinant vector carrying DNA fragments encoding anti-erbB2 scFv/Fc/CD28/CD3ζ chimeric antigen receptor using electroporation. Transfected T cells have been demonstrated to express anti-erB2 scFv/Fc on their surface and CD28/CD3ζ intracellularly. These modified T cells were able to specifically bind to erbB2 tumor-associated antigen on target tumor cells. After specific binding, modified T cells were activated to produce high levels of cytokines (not only interferon-γ but also interluekin-2) and mediate lysis of erbB2-positive human tumor cells in an antigen-specific manner. Furthermore, such genetically modified human T cells significantly delayed the growth of subcutaneous erbB2-positive human xenograft tumors after systemic administration. These preclinical studies suggest that human T cells can be modified genetically and redirected to tumors in cancer patients.

Heczey A, Liu D, Tian G, et al.
Invariant NKT cells with chimeric antigen receptor provide a novel platform for safe and effective cancer immunotherapy.
Blood. 2014; 124(18):2824-33 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 30/10/2015 Related Publications
Advances in the design of chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) have improved the antitumor efficacy of redirected T cells. However, functional heterogeneity of CAR T cells limits their therapeutic potential and is associated with toxicity. We proposed that CAR expression in Vα24-invariant natural killer T (NKT) cells can build on the natural antitumor properties of these cells while their restriction by monomorphic CD1d limits toxicity. Primary human NKT cells were engineered to express a CAR against the GD2 ganglioside (CAR.GD2), which is highly expressed by neuroblastoma (NB). We compared CAR.GD2 constructs that encoded the CD3ζ chain alone, with CD28, 4-1BB, or CD28 and 4-1BB costimulatory endodomains. CAR.GD2 expression rendered NKT cells highly cytotoxic against NB cells without affecting their CD1d-dependent reactivity. We observed a striking T helper 1-like polarization of NKT cells by 4-1BB-containing CARs. Importantly, expression of both CD28 and 4-1BB endodomains in the CAR.GD2 enhanced in vivo persistence of NKT cells. These CAR.GD2 NKT cells effectively localized to the tumor site had potent antitumor activity, and repeat injections significantly improved the long-term survival of mice with metastatic NB. Unlike T cells, CAR.GD2 NKT cells did not induce graft-versus-host disease. These results establish the potential of NKT cells to serve as a safe and effective platform for CAR-directed cancer immunotherapy.

Sako N, Schiavon V, Bounfour T, et al.
Membrane expression of NK receptors CD160 and CD158k contributes to delineate a unique CD4+ T-lymphocyte subset in normal and mycosis fungoides skin.
Cytometry A. 2014; 85(10):869-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
CD160 is a GPI-anchored Ig-like receptor identified by the BY55 mAb on human circulating CD56dim+ NK cells and TCRγδ lymphocytes. In addition, while most intestinal T lymphocytes express it, only a minor circulating CD4+ or CD8+ T lymphocyte subset is CD160+. Here we describe a population of CD4+ CD160+ human blood T lymphocytes of circulating cutaneous T cells. These rare T lymphocytes represent 2.1 ± 1.9% of the circulating CD3+ CD4+ T cells, coexpress CD8αα, CD244, and perforin but lack CD28 expression, a phenotype corresponding to effector memory cytotoxic T-lymphocytes. Functional studies further confirmed their cytotoxic potential. These cells lack αEβ7 integrin and CCR7 expression but do express skin-addressing molecules CLA, and CCR4. In normal human skin, CD4+ CD160+ cells represent 34.6 ± 14.7% of the CD4+ T lymphocytes extracted by collagenase treatment. These T cells coexpress CLA (81 ± 13.6%), CCR4 (62.3 ± 15.9%), and some CD8αα (19.6 ± 13%) or CCR7 (24.4 ± 11.7%) expression. Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma cells express the natural killer receptor KIR3DL2 (CD158k) used as a tumor marker. Not only we confirmed the expression of this marker in the blood and/or skin of mycosis fungoides patients but we also show for the first time CD158k expression (often associated with CD160) on cutaneous CD4+ T cells from healthy individuals (25.3 ± 15%). Therefore, CD4+ CD160+ T cells expressing CD158k might represent specialized cutaneous lymphocytes devoted to immune surveillance, from which could originate cutaneous T-cell lymphomas such as mycosis fungoides.

Cong J, Zhang S, Gao X
Quantitative assessment of the associations between CD28 T > C polymorphism (rs3116496) and cancer risk.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(9):9195-200 [PubMed] Related Publications
Many studies have examined the association between CD28 T > C polymorphism (rs3116496) and cancer risk in various populations. However, results remained controversial. To assess this relationship more precisely, a meta-analysis was performed. A comprehensive literature search was performed using the PubMed database for relevant articles published (updated to January 1, 2014). Odds ratios (ORs) and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) were used to assess the strength of the association. A total of nine studies were selected for this meta-analysis, including 3,878 cases and 4,424 controls. The results indicated that CD28 T > C polymorphism (rs3116496) was not associated with the risk of cancer in overall population (CC + CT vs. TT, OR = 1.17, 95 %CI = 0.94-1.47, P H = 0.00; CC vs. CT + TT, OR = 1.26, 95 %CI = 0.92-1.73, P H = 0.86; CC vs. TT, OR = 1.27, 95 %CI = 0.92-1.74, P H = 0.85; CT vs. TT, OR = 1.15, 95 %CI = 0.91-1.46, P H = 0.00; and C vs. T, OR = 1.17, 95 %CI = 0.97-1.41, P H = 0.00). In subgroup analysis according to cancer type, no significant association was found in cervical cancer or other cancer. However, in the subgroup analysis by ethnicity, the significant risk was found among Asians (CC + CT vs. TT, OR = 1.51, 95 %CI = 1.24-1.83, P H = 0.05; C vs. T, OR = 1.46, 95 %CI = 1.22-1.74, P H = 0.11), but not among Caucasians. The result of this meta-analysis suggested that CD28 T > C polymorphism (rs3116496) may have an increased risk of cancer in Asians.

Sun M, Shi H, Liu C, et al.
Construction and evaluation of a novel humanized HER2-specific chimeric receptor.
Breast Cancer Res. 2014; 16(3):R61 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 30/10/2015 Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: The human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) represents one of the most studied tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) for cancer immunotherapy. The monoclonal antibody (mAb) trastuzumab has improved the outcomes of patients with HER2+ breast cancer. However, a large number of HER2+ tumors are not responsive to, or become resistant to, trastuzumab-based therapy, and thus more effective therapies targeting HER2 are needed.
METHODS: HER2-specific T cells were generated by the transfer of genes that encode chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). Using a multistep overlap extension PCR method, we constructed a novel, humanized HER2 CAR-containing, chA21 single-chain variable fragment (scFv) region of antigen-specific mAb and T-cell intracellular signaling chains made up of CD28 and CD3ζ. An interferon γ and interleukin 2 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and a chromium-51 release assay were used to evaluate the antitumor immune response of CAR T cells in coculture with tumor cells. Furthermore, SKBR3 tumor-bearing nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficiency (NOD/SCID) mice were treated with HER2 CAR T cells to evaluate antitumor activity. Human CD3+ T cell accumulation in tumor xenograft was detected by immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: chA21-28z CAR was successfully constructed, and both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were transduced. The expanded HER2 CAR T cells expressed a central memory phenotype and specifically reacted against HER2+ tumor cell lines. Furthermore, the SKBR3 tumor xenograft model revealed that HER2 CAR T cells significantly inhibited tumor growth in vivo. Immunohistochemical analysis showed robust accumulation of human CD3+ T cells in regressing SKBR3 lesions.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study show that novel chA21 scFv-based, HER2-specific CAR T cells not only recognized and killed HER2+ breast and ovarian cancer cells ex vivo but also induced regression of experimental breast cancer in vivo. Our data support further exploration of the HER2 CAR T-cell therapy for HER2-expressing cancers.

Charbonneau B, Moysich KB, Kalli KR, et al.
Large-scale evaluation of common variation in regulatory T cell-related genes and ovarian cancer outcome.
Cancer Immunol Res. 2014; 2(4):332-40 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 30/10/2015 Related Publications
The presence of regulatory T cells (Treg) in solid tumors is known to play a role in patient survival in ovarian cancer and other malignancies. We assessed inherited genetic variations via 749 tag single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in 25 Treg-associated genes (CD28, CTLA4, FOXP3, IDO1, IL10, IL10RA, IL15, 1L17RA, IL23A, IL23R, IL2RA, IL6, IL6R, IL8, LGALS1, LGALS9, MAP3K8, STAT5A, STAT5B, TGFB1, TGFB2, TGFB3, TGFBR1, TGRBR2, and TGFBR3) in relation to ovarian cancer survival. We analyzed genotype and overall survival in 10,084 women with invasive epithelial ovarian cancer, including 5,248 high-grade serous, 1,452 endometrioid, 795 clear cell, and 661 mucinous carcinoma cases of European descent across 28 studies from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (OCAC). The strongest associations were found for endometrioid carcinoma and IL2RA SNPs rs11256497 [HR, 1.42; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.22-1.64; P = 5.7 × 10(-6)], rs791587 (HR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.17-1.57; P = 6.2 × 10(-5)), rs2476491 (HR, = 1.40; 95% CI, 1.19-1.64; P = 5.6 × 10(-5)), and rs10795763 (HR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.17-1.57; P = 7.9 × 10(-5)), and for clear cell carcinoma and CTLA4 SNP rs231775 (HR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.54-0.82; P = 9.3 × 10(-5)) after adjustment for age, study site, population stratification, stage, grade, and oral contraceptive use. The rs231775 allele associated with improved survival in our study also results in an amino acid change in CTLA4 and previously has been reported to be associated with autoimmune conditions. Thus, we found evidence that SNPs in genes related to Tregs seem to play a role in ovarian cancer survival, particularly in patients with clear cell and endometrioid epithelial ovarian cancer.

van der Fits L, Out-Luiting JJ, Tensen CP, et al.
Exploring the IL-21-STAT3 axis as therapeutic target for Sézary syndrome.
J Invest Dermatol. 2014; 134(10):2639-47 [PubMed] Related Publications
Sézary syndrome is an aggressive cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. The malignant cells (Sézary cells) are present in skin, lymph nodes, and blood, and express constitutively activated signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)3. STAT3 can be activated by IL-21 in vitro and the IL-21 gene itself is a STAT3 target gene, thereby creating an autocrine positive feedback loop that might serve as a therapeutic target. Sézary cells underwent apoptosis when incubated with Stattic, a selective STAT3 inhibitor. STAT3 activation in Sézary cells did not affect expression of the supposed anti-apoptotic STAT3 target genes BCL2, BCL-xL, and SURVIVIN, whereas expression of (proto)oncogenes miR-21, TWIST1, MYC, and PIM1 was significantly increased. CD3/CD28-mediated activation of Sézary cells induced IL-21 expression, accompanied by STAT3 activation and increased proliferation. Blocking IL-21 in CD3/CD28-activated cells had no effects, whereas Stattic abrogated IL-21 expression and cell proliferation. Thus, specific inhibition of STAT3 is highly efficient in the induction of apoptosis of Sézary cells, likely mediated via the regulation of (proto)oncogenes. In contrast, blocking IL-21 alone seems insufficient to affect STAT3 activation, cell proliferation, or apoptosis. These data provide further insights into the pathogenic role of STAT3 in Sézary syndrome and strengthen the notion that STAT3 represents a promising therapeutic target in this disease.

Stojanovic A, Fiegler N, Brunner-Weinzierl M, Cerwenka A
CTLA-4 is expressed by activated mouse NK cells and inhibits NK Cell IFN-γ production in response to mature dendritic cells.
J Immunol. 2014; 192(9):4184-91 [PubMed] Related Publications
NK cells express an array of activating and inhibitory receptors that determine NK cell responses upon triggering by cognate ligands. Although activating NK cell receptors recognize mainly ligands expressed by stressed, virus-infected, or transformed cells, most inhibitory receptors engage MHC class I, preventing NK cell activation in response to healthy cells. In this study, we provide insight into the regulation and function of additional receptors involved in mouse NK cell responses: CTLA-4 and CD28. CTLA-4 and CD28 engage the same ligands, B7-1 and B7-2, which are primarily expressed by APCs, such as dendritic cells. Our data demonstrate that activation of mouse NK cells with IL-2 induces the expression of CTLA-4 and upregulates CD28. CTLA-4 expression in IL-2-expanded NK cells was further up- or downregulated by IL-12 or TGF-β, respectively. Using gene-deficient NK cells, we show that CD28 induces, and CTLA-4 inhibits, IFN-γ release by NK cells upon engagement by the recombinant ligand, B7-1, or upon coculture with mature dendritic cells. Notably, we show that mouse NK cells infiltrating solid tumors express CD28 and CTLA-4 and respond to stimulation with recombinant B7-1, suggesting that the NK cell responses mediated by the CD28/CTLA-4:B7-1/B7-2 system could be of importance during malignant disease. Accordingly, our study might have implications for immunotherapy of cancer based on blocking anti-CTLA-4 mAbs.

Cheadle EJ, Sheard V, Rothwell DG, et al.
Differential role of Th1 and Th2 cytokines in autotoxicity driven by CD19-specific second-generation chimeric antigen receptor T cells in a mouse model.
J Immunol. 2014; 192(8):3654-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
T cells engrafted with chimeric AgRs (CAR) are showing exciting potential for targeting B cell malignancies in early-phase clinical trials. To determine whether the second-generation CAR was essential for optimal antitumor activity, two CD28-based CAR constructs targeting CD19 were tested for their ability to redirect mouse T cell function against established B cell lymphoma in a BALB/c syngeneic model system. T cells armed with either CAR eliminated A20 B cell lymphoma in vivo; however, one construct induced a T cell dose-dependent acute toxicity associated with a raised serum Th1 type cytokine profile on transfer into preconditioned mice. Moreover, a chronic toxicity manifested as granuloma-like formation in spleen, liver, and lymph nodes was observed in animals receiving T cells bearing either CD28 CAR, albeit with different kinetics dependent upon the specific receptor used. This phenotype was associated with an expansion of CD4+ CAR+ T cells and CD11b+ Gr-1(+) myeloid cells and increased serum Th2-type cytokines, including IL-10 and IL-13. Mouse T cells engrafted with a first-generation CAR failed to develop such autotoxicity, whereas toxicity was not apparent when T cells bearing the same receptors were transferred into C57BL/6 or C3H animals. In summary, the adoptive transfer of second-generation CD19-specific CAR T cells can result in a cell dose-dependent acute toxicity, whereas the prolonged secretion of high levels of Th2 cytokines from these CAR T cells in vivo drives a granulomatous reaction resulting in chronic toxicity. Strategies that prevent a prolonged Th2-cytokine biased CAR T cell response are clearly warranted.

Ishikawa T, Kokura S, Enoki T, et al.
Phase I clinical trial of fibronectin CH296-stimulated T cell therapy in patients with advanced cancer.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(1):e83786 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 30/10/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Previous studies have demonstrated that less-differentiated T cells are ideal for adoptive T cell transfer therapy (ACT) and that fibronectin CH296 (FN-CH296) together with anti-CD3 resulted in cultured cells that contain higher amounts of less-differentiated T cells. In this phase I clinical trial, we build on these prior results by assessing the safety and efficacy of FN-CH296 stimulated T cell therapy in patients with advanced cancer.
METHODS: Patients underwent fibronectin CH296-stimulated T cell therapy up to six times every two weeks and the safety and antitumor activity of the ACT were assessed. In order to determine immune function, whole blood cytokine levels and the number of peripheral regulatory T cells were analyzed prior to ACT and during the follow up.
RESULTS: Transferred cells contained numerous less-differentiated T cells greatly represented by CD27+CD45RA+ or CD28+CD45RA+ cell, which accounted for approximately 65% and 70% of the total, respectively. No ACT related severe or unexpected toxicities were observed. The response rate among patients was 22.2% and the disease control rate was 66.7%.
CONCLUSIONS: The results obtained in this phase I trial, indicate that FN-CH296 stimulated T cell therapy was very well tolerated with a level of efficacy that is quite promising. We also surmise that expanding T cell using CH296 is a method that can be applied to other T- cell-based therapies.

Zhao HY, Duan HX, Gu Y
Meta-analysis of the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 gene +6230G/A polymorphism and cancer risk.
Clin Transl Oncol. 2014; 16(10):879-85 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA4, CD152) is one of the most fundamental immunosuppressive cytokines that inhibits T-cell activation and terminates the T-cell response by blocking signals stimulated via CD28. A number of studies have assessed the association between CTLA-4 +6230G/A polymorphism and cancer risk. However, the results remain controversial.
METHODS: In the present study, we performed a meta-analysis to derive a more precise estimation of the relationship. A comprehensive literature search was performed using the PubMed database for relevant articles published (updated to November 21, 2013). Odds ratios (ORs) and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) were used to assess the strength of the association.
RESULTS: A total of 13 articles with 14 studies were selected for this meta-analysis, including 4,489 cases and 4,715 controls. Combined analysis revealed no associations between CTLA-4 +6230G/A polymorphism and cancer risk. However, in stratified analysis by cancer type, we found that CTLA-4 +6230G/A polymorphism was associated with the risk of breast cancer (AA vs. AG + GG: OR = 0.77, 95 % CI 0.60-0.97, P = 0.03; AA vs. GG: OR = 0.66, 95 % CI 0.46-0.95, P = 0.02) and cervical cancer (AA vs. AG + GG: OR = 0.56, 95 % CI 0.42-0.75, P < 0.01). Additionally, in subgroup analysis based on ethnicity, significant association was also found between the CTLA-4 +6230G/A polymorphism and cancer risk in the Asian population (AA vs. AG + GG: OR = 0.71, 95 % CI 0.59-0.84, P < 0.01).
CONCLUSION: This meta-analysis indicates that CTLA-4 +6230G/A polymorphism may be associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer and cervical cancer in Chinese population.

El-Serafi I, Abedi-Valugerdi M, Potácová Z, et al.
Cyclophosphamide alters the gene expression profile in patients treated with high doses prior to stem cell transplantation.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(1):e86619 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 30/10/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is a curative treatment for several haematological malignancies. However, treatment related morbidity and mortality still is a limiting factor. Cyclophosphamide is widely used in condition regimens either in combination with other chemotherapy or with total body irradiation.
METHODS: We present the gene expression profile during cyclophosphamide treatment in 11 patients conditioned with cyclophosphamide for 2 days followed by total body irradiation prior to hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. 299 genes were identified as specific for cyclophosphamide treatment and were arranged into 4 clusters highly down-regulated genes, highly up-regulated genes, early up-regulated but later normalized genes and moderately up-regulated genes.
RESULTS: Cyclophosphamide treatment down-regulated expression of several genes mapped to immune/autoimmune activation and graft rejection including CD3, CD28, CTLA4, MHC II, PRF1, GZMB and IL-2R, and up-regulated immune-related receptor genes, e.g. IL1R2, IL18R1, and FLT3. Moreover, a high and significant expression of ANGPTL1 and c-JUN genes was observed independent of cyclophosphamide treatment.
CONCLUSION: This is the first investigation to provide significant information about alterations in gene expression following cyclophosphamide treatment that may increase our understanding of the cyclophosphamide mechanism of action and hence, in part, avoid its toxicity. Furthermore, ANGPTL1 remained highly expressed throughout the treatment and, in contrast to several other alkylating agents, cyclophosphamide did not influence c-JUN expression.

Tanaka Y, Yamazaki R, Terasako-Saito K, et al.
Universal cytotoxic activity of a HTLV-1 Tax-specific T cell clone from an HLA-A*24:02⁺ patient with adult T-cell leukemia against a variety of HTLV-I-infected T-cells.
Immunol Lett. 2014 Mar-Apr; 158(1-2):120-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
Adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL) is an aggressive mature T cell malignancy that is causally associated with human T cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infection. The HTLV-1 regulatory protein Tax aggressively accelerates the proliferation of host cells and is also an important target antigen for CD8(+) cytotoxic T cells (CTLs). We previously reported that several predominant HLA-A*24:02-restricted HTLV-1 Tax301-309-specific CTL clones commonly expressed a particular amino acid sequence motif (P-D-R) in complementarity-determining region 3 of T-cell receptor (TCR)-β chain among unrelated ATL patients who underwent allogeneic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT). Furthermore, a PDR-motif(+) CTL clone persistently existed in a long-term survivor as a central CTL clone with strong CTL activities after HSCT. Although a larger analysis of the relationship between PDR-motif(+) CTLs and the clinical course is required, the expression of PDR-motif(+) TCR on CD8(+) T cells may play a critical role in the management of anti-HTLV-1 activities for HLA-A24:02(+) ATL patients. Therefore, in this study, we prepared an HTLV-1 Tax301-309 peptide-specific CTL clone (HT-9) expressing PDR-motif(+) TCR isolated from a long-term survivor after HSCT, and evaluated its CTL activity against a variety of HTLV-1-infected T-cells from HLA-A*24:02(+) ATL patients. Before the assay of CTL function, we confirmed that HT-9 expressed less-differentiated effector-memory phenotypes (CD45RA(-)CCR7(-)CD27(+)CD28(+/-)CD57(+/-)) and T-cell exhaustion marker PD-1(+). In assays of CTL function, HT-9 recognized HTLV-1 Tax in an HLA-restricted fashion and demonstrated strong CTL activities against a variety of HTLV-1-infected T-cells from HLA-A*24:02(+) ATL patients regardless of whether the sources were autologous or allogeneic, but not normal cells. These data indicate that PDR-motif(+) TCR could be an important TCR candidate for TCR-gene immunotherapy for HLA-A24:02(+) ATL patients, provided that the CTL activities against HTLV-1 are reproduced in in vivo experiments using mouse models.

Budde LE, Berger C, Lin Y, et al.
Combining a CD20 chimeric antigen receptor and an inducible caspase 9 suicide switch to improve the efficacy and safety of T cell adoptive immunotherapy for lymphoma.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(12):e82742 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 30/10/2015 Related Publications
Modification of T cells with chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) has emerged as a promising treatment modality for human malignancies. Integration of co-stimulatory domains into CARs can augment the activation and function of genetically targeted T cells against tumors. However, the potential for insertional mutagenesis and toxicities due to the infused cells have made development of safe methods for removing transferred cells an important consideration. We have genetically modified human T cells with a lentiviral vector to express a CD20-CAR containing both CD28 and CD137 co-stimulatory domains, a "suicide gene" relying on inducible activation of caspase 9 (iC9), and a truncated CD19 selectable marker. Rapid expansion (2000 fold) of the transduced T cells was achieved in 28 days after stimulation with artificial antigen presenting cells. Transduced T cells exhibited effective CD20-specific cytotoxic activity in vitro and in a mouse xenograft tumor model. Activation of the iC9 suicide switch resulted in efficient removal of transduced T cells both in vitro and in vivo. Our work demonstrates the feasibility and promise of this approach for treating CD20(+) malignancies in a safe and more efficient manner. A phase I clinical trial using this approach in patients with relapsed indolent B-NHL is planned.

Geldres C, Savoldo B, Hoyos V, et al.
T lymphocytes redirected against the chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan-4 control the growth of multiple solid tumors both in vitro and in vivo.
Clin Cancer Res. 2014; 20(4):962-71 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 30/10/2015 Related Publications
PURPOSE: Because of its high expression on various types of tumors and its restricted distribution in normal tissues, chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan-4 (CSPG4) represents an attractive target for the antibody-based therapy of several solid tumors. We tested whether T cells transduced with a CSPG4-specific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) inhibited the growth of CSPG4-expressing tumor cells both in vitro and in vivo.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We first independently validated by immunohistochemistry (IHC) the expression of CSPG4 in an extensive panel of tumor arrays and normal tissues as well as queried public gene expression profiling datasets of human tumors. We constructed a second-generation CSPG4-specific CAR also encoding the CD28 costimulatory endodomain (CAR.CSPG4). We then evaluated human T lymphocytes expressing this CAR for their ex vivo and in vivo antitumor activity against a broad panel of solid tumors.
RESULTS: IHC showed that CSPG4 is highly expressed in melanoma, breast cancer, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), and mesothelioma. In addition, in silico analysis of microarray expression data identified other important potential tumors expressing this target, including glioblastoma, clear cell renal carcinoma, and sarcomas. T lymphocytes genetically modified with a CSPG4-CAR controlled tumor growth in vitro and in vivo in NSG mice engrafted with human melanoma, HNSCC, and breast carcinoma cell lines.
CONCLUSIONS: CAR.CSPG4-redirected T cells should provide an effective treatment modality for a variety of solid tumors.

Joosten LA, Netea MG, Dinarello CA
Interleukin-1β in innate inflammation, autophagy and immunity.
Semin Immunol. 2013; 25(6):416-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
Although IL-1β is the master inflammatory cytokine in the IL-1 family, after more than ten years of continuous breeding, mice deficient in IL-1β exhibit no spontaneous disease. Therefore, one concludes that IL-1β is not needed for homeostasis. However, IL-1β-deficient mice are protected against local and systemic inflammation due to live infections, autoimmune processes, tumor metastasis and even chemical carcinogenesis. Based on a large number of preclinical studies, blocking IL-1β activity in humans with a broad spectrum of inflammatory conditions has reduced disease severity and for many, has lifted the burden of disease. Rare and common diseases are controlled by blocking IL-1β. Immunologically, IL-1β is a natural adjuvant for responses to antigen. Alone, IL-1β is not a growth factor for lymphocytes; rather in antigen activated immunocompetent cells, blocking IL-1 reduces IL-17 production. IL-1β markedly increases in the expansion of naive and memory CD4T cells in response to challenge with their cognate antigen. The response occurs when only specific CD4T cells respond to IL-1β and not to IL-6 or CD-28. A role for autophagy in production of IL-1β has emerged with deletion of the autophagy gene ATG16L1. Macrophages from ATG16L1-deficient mice produce higher levels of IL-1β after stimulation with TLR4 ligands via a mechanism of caspase-1 activation. The implications for increased IL-1β release in persons with defective autophagy may have clinical importance for disease.

Merlo DF, Agramunt S, Anna L, et al.
Micronuclei in cord blood lymphocytes and associations with biomarkers of exposure to carcinogens and hormonally active factors, gene polymorphisms, and gene expression: the NewGeneris cohort.
Environ Health Perspect. 2014; 122(2):193-200 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 30/10/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Leukemia incidence has increased in recent decades among European children, suggesting that early-life environmental exposures play an important role in disease development.
OBJECTIVES: We investigated the hypothesis that childhood susceptibility may increase as a result of in utero exposure to carcinogens and hormonally acting factors. Using cord blood samples from the NewGeneris cohort, we examined associations between a range of biomarkers of carcinogen exposure and hormonally acting factors with micronuclei (MN) frequency as a proxy measure of cancer risk. Associations with gene expression and genotype were also explored.
METHODS: DNA and protein adducts, gene expression profiles, circulating hormonally acting factors, and GWAS (genome-wide association study) data were investigated in relation to genomic damage measured by MN frequency in lymphocytes from 623 newborns enrolled between 2006 and 2010 across Europe.
RESULTS: Malondialdehyde DNA adducts (M1dG) were associated with increased MN frequency in binucleated lymphocytes (MNBN), and exposure to androgenic, estrogenic, and dioxin-like compounds was associated with MN frequency in mononucleated lymphocytes (MNMONO), although no monotonic exposure-outcome relationship was observed. Lower frequencies of MNBN were associated with a 1-unit increase expression of PDCD11, LATS2, TRIM13, CD28, SMC1A, IL7R, and NIPBL genes. Gene expression was significantly higher in association with the highest versus lowest category of bulky and M1dG-DNA adducts for five and six genes, respectively. Gene expression levels were significantly lower for 11 genes in association with the highest versus lowest category of plasma AR CALUX® (chemically activated luciferase expression for androgens) (8 genes), ERα CALUX® (for estrogens) (2 genes), and DR CALUX® (for dioxins). Several SNPs (single-nucleotide polymorphisms) on chromosome 11 near FOLH1 significantly modified associations between androgen activity and MNBN frequency. Polymorphisms in EPHX1/2 and CYP2E1 were associated with MNBN.
CONCLUSION: We measured in utero exposure to selected environmental carcinogens and circulating hormonally acting factors and detected associations with MN frequency in newborns circulating T lymphocytes. The results highlight mechanisms that may contribute to carcinogen-induced leukemia and require further research.

Mondal AM, Horikawa I, Pine SR, et al.
p53 isoforms regulate aging- and tumor-associated replicative senescence in T lymphocytes.
J Clin Invest. 2013; 123(12):5247-57 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 30/10/2015 Related Publications
Cellular senescence contributes to aging and decline in tissue function. p53 isoform switching regulates replicative senescence in cultured fibroblasts and is associated with tumor progression. Here, we found that the endogenous p53 isoforms Δ133p53 and p53β are physiological regulators of proliferation and senescence in human T lymphocytes in vivo. Peripheral blood CD8+ T lymphocytes collected from healthy donors displayed an age-dependent accumulation of senescent cells (CD28-CD57+) with decreased Δ133p53 and increased p53β expression. Human lung tumor-associated CD8+ T lymphocytes also harbored senescent cells. Cultured CD8+ blood T lymphocytes underwent replicative senescence that was associated with loss of CD28 and Δ133p53 protein. In poorly proliferative, Δ133p53-low CD8+CD28- cells, reconstituted expression of either Δ133p53 or CD28 upregulated endogenous expression of each other, which restored cell proliferation, extended replicative lifespan and rescued senescence phenotypes. Conversely, Δ133p53 knockdown or p53β overexpression in CD8+CD28+ cells inhibited cell proliferation and induced senescence. This study establishes a role for Δ133p53 and p53β in regulation of cellular proliferation and senescence in vivo. Furthermore, Δ133p53-induced restoration of cellular replicative potential may lead to a new therapeutic paradigm for treating immunosenescence disorders, including those associated with aging, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and HIV infection.

Ma Q, Gomes EM, Lo AS, Junghans RP
Advanced generation anti-prostate specific membrane antigen designer T cells for prostate cancer immunotherapy.
Prostate. 2014; 74(3):286-96 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Adoptive immunotherapy by infusion of designer T cells (dTc) engineered with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) for tumoricidal activity represents a potentially highly specific modality for the treatment of cancer. In this study, 2nd generation (gen) anti-prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA) dTc were developed for improving the efficacy of previously developed 1st gen dTc for prostate cancer immunotherapy. The 1st gen dTc are modified with chimeric immunoglobulin-T cell receptor (IgTCR) while the 2nd gen dTc are engineered with an immunoglobulin-CD28-T cell receptor (IgCD28TCR), which incorporates a CD28 costimulatory signal for optimal T cell activation.
METHODS: A 2nd gen anti-PSMA IgCD28TCR CAR was constructed by inserting the CD28 signal domain into the 1st gen CAR. 1st and 2nd gen anti-PSMA dTc were created by transducing human T cells with anti-PSMA CARs and their antitumor efficacy was compared for specific activation on PSMA-expressing tumor contact, cytotoxicity against PSMA-expressing tumor cells in vitro, and suppression of tumor growth in an animal model.
RESULTS: The 2nd gen dTc can be optimally activated to secrete larger amounts of cytokines such as IL2 and IFNγ than 1st gen and to proliferate more vigorously on PSMA-expressing tumor contact. More importantly, the 2nd gen dTc preserve the PSMA-specific cytotoxicity in vitro and suppress tumor growth in animal models with significant higher potency.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate that 2nd gen anti-PSMA designer T cells exhibit superior antitumor functions versus 1st gen, providing a rationale for advancing this improved agent toward clinical application in prostate cancer immunotherapy.

Casucci M, Nicolis di Robilant B, Falcone L, et al.
CD44v6-targeted T cells mediate potent antitumor effects against acute myeloid leukemia and multiple myeloma.
Blood. 2013; 122(20):3461-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
Genetically targeted T cells promise to solve the feasibility and efficacy hurdles of adoptive T-cell therapy for cancer. Selecting a target expressed in multiple-tumor types and that is required for tumor growth would widen disease indications and prevent immune escape caused by the emergence of antigen-loss variants. The adhesive receptor CD44 is broadly expressed in hematologic and epithelial tumors, where it contributes to the cancer stem/initiating phenotype. In this study, silencing of its isoform variant 6 (CD44v6) prevented engraftment of human acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and multiple myeloma (MM) cells in immunocompromised mice. Accordingly, T cells targeted to CD44v6 by means of a chimeric antigen receptor containing a CD28 signaling domain mediated potent antitumor effects against primary AML and MM while sparing normal hematopoietic stem cells and CD44v6-expressing keratinocytes. Importantly, in vitro activation with CD3/CD28 beads and interleukin (IL)-7/IL-15 was required for antitumor efficacy in vivo. Finally, coexpressing a suicide gene enabled fast and efficient pharmacologic ablation of CD44v6-targeted T cells and complete rescue from hyperacute xenogeneic graft-versus-host disease modeling early and generalized toxicity. These results warrant the clinical investigation of suicidal CD44v6-targeted T cells in AML and MM.

De Oliveira SN, Ryan C, Giannoni F, et al.
Modification of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells with CD19-specific chimeric antigen receptors as a novel approach for cancer immunotherapy.
Hum Gene Ther. 2013; 24(10):824-39 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 30/10/2015 Related Publications
Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) against CD19 have been shown to direct T-cells to specifically target B-lineage malignant cells in animal models and clinical trials, with efficient tumor cell lysis. However, in some cases, there has been insufficient persistence of effector cells, limiting clinical efficacy. We propose gene transfer to hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPC) as a novel approach to deliver the CD19-specific CAR, with potential for ensuring persistent production of effector cells of multiple lineages targeting B-lineage malignant cells. Assessments were performed using in vitro myeloid or natural killer (NK) cell differentiation of human HSPCs transduced with lentiviral vectors carrying first and second generations of CD19-specific CAR. Gene transfer did not impair hematopoietic differentiation and cell proliferation when transduced at 1-2 copies/cell. CAR-bearing myeloid and NK cells specifically lysed CD19-positive cells, with second-generation CAR including CD28 domains being more efficient in NK cells. Our results provide evidence for the feasibility and efficacy of the modification of HSPC with CAR as a strategy for generating multiple lineages of effector cells for immunotherapy against B-lineage malignancies to augment graft-versus-leukemia activity.

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