Analysis and Augmentation of the Immunologic Bystander Effects of CAR T Cell Therapy in a Syngeneic Mouse Cancer Model.
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The therapeutic efficacy of adoptive transfer of T cells transduced with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) has been limited in the treatment of solid cancers, partly due to tumor antigen heterogeneity. Overcoming lack of universal tumor antigen expression would be achieved if CAR T cells could induce bystander effects. To study this process, we developed a system where CAR T cells targeting mesothelin could cure tumors containing 100% antigen-positive cells in immunocompetent mice. Using this model, we found that the CAR T cells were unable to cure tumors, even when only 10% of the tumor cells were mesothelin negative. A bystander effect was not induced by co-administration of anti-PD-1, anti-CTLA-4, or anti-TGF-β (transforming growth factor β) antibodies; agonistic CD40 antibodies; or an IDO (indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase) inhibitor. However, pretreatment with a non-lymphodepleting dose of cyclophosphamide (CTX) prior to CAR T cells resulted in cures of tumors with up to 25% mesothelin-negative cells. The mechanism was dependent on endogenous CD8 T cells but not on basic leucine zipper transcription factor ATF-like 3 (BATF3)-dependent dendritic cells. These data suggest that CAR T cell therapy of solid tumors, in which the targeted antigen is not expressed by the vast majority of tumor cells, will not likely be successful unless combination strategies to enhance bystander effects are used.
Thoracic Oncology Immunotherapy Group (TOIG)
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Molecular therapy oncolytics, 2020, 18 pp. 360 - 371