A high molecular weight melanoma-associated antigen-specific chimeric antigen receptor redirects lymphocytes to target human melanomas.
ABSTRACT: Immunotherapy, particularly the adoptive cell transfer (ACT) of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL), is a very promising therapy for metastatic melanoma. Some patients unable to receive TIL have been successfully treated with autologous peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL), genetically modified to express human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I antigen-restricted, melanoma antigen-reactive T-cell receptors; however, substantial numbers of patients remain ineligible due to the lack of expression of the restricting HLA class I allele. We sought to overcome this limitation by designing a non-MHC-restricted, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) targeting the high molecular weight melanoma-associated antigen (HMW-MAA), which is highly expressed on more than 90% of human melanomas but has a restricted distribution in normal tissues. HMW-MAA-specific CARs containing an antigen recognition domain based on variations of the HMW-MAA-specific monoclonal antibody 225.28S and a T-cell activation domain based on combinations of CD28, 4-1BB, and CD3zeta activation motifs were constructed within a retroviral vector to allow stable gene transfer into cells and their progeny. Following optimization of the HMW-MAA-specific CAR for expression and function in human PBL, these gene-modified T cells secreted cytokines, were cytolytic, and proliferated in response to HMW-MAA-expressing cell lines. Furthermore, the receptor functioned in both CD4(+) and CD8(+) cells, was non-MHC restricted, and reacted against explanted human melanomas. To evaluate this HMW-MAA-specific CAR in patients with metastatic melanoma, we developed a clinical-grade retroviral packaging line. This may represent a novel means to treat the majority of patients with advanced melanoma, most notably those unable to receive current ACT therapies.
Project description:The high molecular weight melanoma-associated antigen (HMW-MAA), also known as melanoma chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan, has been used as a target for the immunotherapy of melanoma. This antigen is expressed on the cell surface and has a restricted distribution in normal tissues. Besides its expression in a broad range of transformed cells, this antigen is also found in pericytes, which are important for tumor angiogenesis. We generated a recombinant Listeria monocytogenes (Lm-LLO-HMW-MAA-C) that expresses and secretes a fragment of HMW-MAA (residues 2,160-2,258) fused to the first 441 residues of the listeriolysin O (LLO) protein. Immunization with Lm-LLO-HMW-MAA-C was able to impede the tumor growth of early established B16F10-HMW-MAA tumors in mice and both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells were required for therapeutic efficacy. Immune responses to a known HLA-A2 epitope present in the HMW-MAA(2160-2258) fragment was detected in the HLA-A2/K(b) transgenic mice immunized with Lm-LLO-HMW-MAA-C. Surprisingly, this vaccine also significantly impaired the in vivo growth of other tumorigenic cell lines, such as melanoma, renal carcinoma, and breast tumors, which were not engineered to express HMW-MAA. One hypothesis is that the vaccine could be targeting pericytes, which are important for tumor angiogenesis. In a breast tumor model, immunization with Lm-LLO-HMW-MAA-C caused CD8(+) T-cell infiltration in the tumor stroma and a significant decrease in the number of pericytes in the tumor blood vessels. In conclusion, a Lm-based vaccine against HMW-MAA can trigger cell-mediated immune responses to this antigen that can target not only tumor cells but also pericytes in the tumor vasculature.
Project description:The availability of molecular-targeted therapies for the treatment of melanoma has emphasised the need to identify mutations in target genes such as BRAF and KIT. Circulating tumour cells (CTC) are present in the peripheral blood of a significant proportion of cancer patients.High molecular weight melanoma-associated antigen (HMW-MAA) was used to isolate melanoma cells from peripheral blood as it is selectively expressed at high levels on melanomas. The HMW-MAA-positive cells were isolated using immunomagnetic beads. After removing CD45(+) cells, CTC were identified by staining with MART-1- and gp100-specific antibodies (HMW-MAA(+), CD45(-), MART-1/gp100(+)). Single, isolated CTC were then subjected to BRAF and KIT mutational analysis.CTC (HMW-MAA(+), CD45(-), MART-1/gp100(+)) were isolated from the blood of 11 patients and BRAF and KIT were sequenced in nine and four patients, respectively. The BRAF sequences identified in the CTC were inconsistent with those identified in autologous melanoma tumours in three patients and the KIT sequences were inconsistent in three patients. In addition, polyclonal BRAF mutations were identified in one patient and concomitant mutations in BRAF and KIT were identified in another patient.Melanoma cells show clonal heterogeneity. Therefore, CTC genotyping may be crucial for successful molecular-targeted therapy.
Project description:Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is considered an immunogenic tumor, but it has been difficult to identify tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) that show in vitro tumor recognition. We compared the characteristics of fresh RCC TIL to peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) or melanoma TIL. Our results showed that RCC TIL contained fewer CD27(+) T cells, and fewer naïve and central memory (CM) T cells, but more effector memory (EM) T cells than melanoma TIL or renal PBL. We hypothesized that factors in the RCC microenvironment were skewing TIL phenotype toward EM. One possibility was the expression of CD70 on nearly all human RCCs, but not melanomas. Differentiation of naïve T cells to EM cells only occurred from CD70 costimulation in concert with T-cell receptor (TCR) stimulation (signal one), suggesting that EM TIL responding to CD70 would be enriched for T cells reactive with local antigens, including those associated with RCC. Clonotypic analysis of TCRs in fresh RCCs showed that EM T cells were more clonally expanded than CM or naïve T cells, and the clonal expansion occurred at the tumor site as oligoclonal TCRs were distinct from PBL TCRs from the same patient. In addition, we found that 2 TCRs from the highly represented EM TIL clones, when reexpressed in fresh PBL, recognized an MHC-class II or MHC-class I-restricted antigens shared by multiple RCC lines. Our results suggest that RCC-reactive TIL do exist in situ, but may be difficult to recover and study because of proliferative exhaustion, driven by tumor-expressed CD70.
Project description:Proceeding on the assumption that all cancer cells have equal malignant capacities, current regimens in cancer therapy attempt to eradicate all malignant cells of a tumor lesion. Using in vivo targeting of tumor cell subsets, we demonstrate that selective elimination of a definite, minor tumor cell subpopulation is particularly effective in eradicating established melanoma lesions irrespective of the bulk of cancer cells. Tumor cell subsets were specifically eliminated in a tumor lesion by adoptive transfer of engineered cytotoxic T cells redirected in an antigen-restricted manner via a chimeric antigen receptor. Targeted elimination of less than 2% of the tumor cells that coexpress high molecular weight melanoma-associated antigen (HMW-MAA) (melanoma-associated chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan, MCSP) and CD20 lastingly eradicated melanoma lesions, whereas targeting of any random 10% tumor cell subset was not effective. Our data challenge the biological therapy and current drug development paradigms in the treatment of cancer.
Project description:Chordoma and chondrosarcoma are malignant bone tumors characterized by the abundant production of extracellular matrix. The resistance of these tumors to conventional therapeutic modalities has prompted us to delineate the gene expression profile of these two tumor types, with the expectation to identify potential molecular therapeutic targets. Furthermore the transcriptional profile of chordomas and chrondrosarcomas was compared to a wide variety of sarcomas as well as to that of normal tissues of similar lineage, to determine whether they express unique gene signatures among other tumors of mesenchymal origin, and to identify changes associated with malignant transformation. A HG-U133A Affymetrix Chip platform was used to determine the gene expression signature in 6 chordoma and 14 chondrosarcoma lesions. Validation of selected genes was performed by qPCR and immunohistochemistry (IHC) on an extended subset of tumors. By unsupervised clustering, chordoma and chondrosarcoma tumors grouped together in a genomic cluster distinct from that of other sarcoma types. They shared overexpression of many extracellular matrix genes including aggrecan, type II & X collagen, fibronectin, matrillin 3, high molecular weight-melanoma associated antigen (HMW-MAA), matrix metalloproteinase MMP-9, and MMP-19. In contrast, T Brachyury and CD24 were selectively expressed in chordomas, as were Keratin 8,13,15,18 and 19. Chondrosarcomas are distinguished by high expression of type IX and XI collagen. Because of its potential usefulness as a target for immunotherapy, the expression of HMW-MAA was analyzed by IHC and was detected in 62% of chordomas and 48% of chondrosarcomas, respectively. Furthermore, western blotting analysis showed that HMW-MAA synthesized by chordoma cell lines has a structure similar to that of the antigen synthesized by melanoma cells. In conclusion, chordomas and chondrosarcomas share a similar gene expression profile of up-regulated extracellular matrix genes. HMW-MAA represents a potential useful target to apply immunotherapy to these tumors.
Project description:The clinical success of adoptive immunotherapy of cancer relies on the selection of target antigens that are highly expressed in tumor cells but absent in essential normal tissues. A group of genes that encode the cancer/testis or cancer germline antigens have been proposed as ideal targets for immunotherapy due to their high expression in multiple cancer types and their restricted expression in immunoprivileged normal tissues. In the present work we report the isolation and characterization of human T cell receptors (TCRs) with specificity for synovial sarcoma X breakpoint 2 (SSX2), a cancer/testis antigen expressed in melanoma, prostate cancer, lymphoma, multiple myeloma and pancreatic cancer, among other tumors. We isolated seven HLA-A2 restricted T cell receptors from natural T cell clones derived from tumor-infiltrated lymph nodes of two SSX2-seropositive melanoma patients, and selected four TCRs for cloning into retroviral vectors. Peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) transduced with three of four SSX2 TCRs showed SSX241-49 (KASEKIFYV) peptide specific reactivity, tumor cell recognition and tetramer binding. One of these, TCR-5, exhibited tetramer binding in both CD4 and CD8 cells and was selected for further studies. Antigen-specific and HLA-A*0201-restricted interferon-? release, cell lysis and lymphocyte proliferation was observed following culture of TCR engineered human PBL with relevant tumor cell lines. Codon optimization was found to increase TCR-5 expression in transduced T cells, and this construct has been selected for development of clinical grade viral vector producing cells. The tumor-specific pattern of expression of SSX2, along with the potent and selective activity of TCR-5, makes this TCR an attractive candidate for potential TCR gene therapy to treat multiple cancer histologies.
Project description:A cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) clone was derived from a tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) population infused to a melanoma patient who remained relapse free for 10 yr after this adoptive transfer. This clone recognized all melanoma cell lines tested and, to a lower extent, melanocytes, in the context of human histocompatibility leukocyte antigen A2 (HLA-A2), but it did not recognize other tumor cell types. The gene coding for the antigen recognized by this clone was identified by the screening of a melanoma complementary DNA expression library. This antigen is overexpressed in melanomas, compared with other cancer cell lines and healthy tissues, and was thus called melanoma-overexpressed antigen (meloe). Remarkably, the structure of meloe was unusual, with multiple short open reading frames (ORFs). The peptide recognized by the CTL clone was encoded by one of these ORFs, called MELOE-1. Using a specific HLA-A2/peptide tetramer, we showed a correlation between the infusion of TILs containing MELOE-1-specific T cells and relapse prevention in HLA-A2 patients. Indeed, 5 out of 9 patients who did not relapse were infused with TILs that contained MELOE-1-specific T cells, whereas 0 out of the 21 patients who relapsed was infused with such TIL-containing lymphocytes. Overall, our results suggest that this new antigen is involved in immunosurveillance and, thus, represents an attractive target for immunotherapy protocols of melanoma.
Project description:PD-L1 expression in melanoma correlates with response to PD-1 pathway-blocking antibodies. Aberrant tumor-cell PD-L1 expression may be oncogene driven and/or induced by IFN?. Melanomas express PD-L1 in association with tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL), but the potential contribution of the BRAF V600E mutation (BRAFmut) to induced PD-L1 expression has not been determined. Fifty-two archival melanocytic lesions were assessed for PD-L1 expression, TIL infiltration, and BRAFmut simultaneously. IFN?-induced PD-L1 expression in cultured melanomas was assessed in parallel according to BRAF status. Melanocyte PD-L1 expression was observed in 40% of specimens, and BRAFmut was observed in 42% of specimens, but no significant concordance was found between these variables. Almost all melanocytes displaying PD-L1 expression were observed to be adjacent to TILs, irrespective of BRAF status. TIL(-) lesions were not more likely to be associated with BRAFmut, when compared with TIL(+) lesions. Baseline expression of PD-L1 by melanoma cell lines was virtually nil, regardless of BRAFmut status, and the intensity of IFN-induced PD-L1 expression in melanoma cell lines likewise did not correlate with BRAF mutational status. PD-L1 expression in melanocytic lesions does not correlate with the BRAFmut. Thus, distinct populations of melanoma patients will likely benefit from BRAF inhibitors versus PD-1 pathway blockade.
Project description:Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) reflect the host's anti-tumor immune response, and can be a valuable predictor of prognosis. However, many properties of TIL are not fully understood. In the present study, TCR-V? repertoires of cancer patients were primarily analyzed by flow cytometry. Abnormally expressed TCR-V? subfamilies were generally found in both TIL and peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) of each patient. Of note, increased patient age was associated with increasingly biased TCR-V? repertoire in TIL but not in PBL, and the dispersion degree of the differences of TCR-V? subfamilies between TIL and PBL correlated positively with age (P?=?0.007). Utilizing immunoscope analysis, we identified the age-related reduction in TCR-V? diversity, but polyclonal pattern was predominant in significantly expanded TCR-V? subfamilies. In addition, we found that older patients possessed a decreased ratio of CD8+CD62L+ non-effector cells in TIL compared to PBL, implying age-related increase of CD8+CD62L- effector cells in TIL. The colocalization analysis of CD8 and CD3, however, suggested the suppressed activity of these effector cells in tumor microenvironment. These findings further elucidate the properties of TIL, showing an increasing difference between TIL and PBL with age, which may provide insight for the development of effective immunotherapies for cancer patients of different ages.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are synthetic receptors that usually redirect T cells to surface antigens independent of human leukocyte antigen (HLA). Here, we investigated a T cell receptor-like CAR based on an antibody that recognizes HLA-A*0201 presenting a peptide epitope derived from the cancer-testis antigen NY-ESO-1. We hypothesized that this CAR would efficiently redirect transduced T cells in an HLA-restricted, antigen-specific manner. However, we found that despite the specificity of the soluble Fab, the same antibody in the form of a CAR caused moderate lysis of HLA-A2 expressing targets independent of antigen owing to T cell avidity. We hypothesized that lowering the affinity of the CAR for HLA-A2 would improve its specificity. We undertook a rational approach of mutating residues that, in the crystal structure, were predicted to stabilize binding to HLA-A2. We found that one mutation (DN) lowered the affinity of the Fab to T cell receptor-range and restored the epitope specificity of the CAR. DN CAR T cells lysed native tumor targets in vitro, and, in a xenogeneic mouse model implanted with two human melanoma lines (A2+/NYESO+ and A2+/NYESO-), DN CAR T cells specifically migrated to, and delayed progression of, only the HLA-A2+/NY-ESO-1+ melanoma. Thus, although maintaining MHC-restricted antigen specificity required T cell receptor-like affinity that decreased potency, there is exciting potential for CARs to expand their repertoire to include a broad range of intracellular antigens.