Dynamics of tumor cell killing by human T lymphocytes armed with an anti-carcinoembryonic antigen chimeric immunoglobulin T-cell receptor

J Immunother. May-Jun 2000;23(3):332-43. doi: 10.1097/00002371-200005000-00006.


Chimeric immunoglobulin T-cell receptors (IgTCR) join the antigen-binding portion of an antibody to one of the signaling chains of the TCR. A previous report described the construction and functional testing of an IgTCR gene directed against the carcinoembryonic tumor antigen (CEA). These preclinical studies showed the proper assembly and cell surface expression of anti-CEA IgTCR molecules, specific target antigen binding, and activation of T-cell effector functions. Although IgTCR-modified T cells function well in vitro, therapeutic applications in humans may be complicated by various factors, such as the availability of appropriate T-cell cytokines, high systemic levels of antagonistic soluble CEA, and antigenic diversity in tumor cell populations. The current study analyzes tumor cell killing by IgTCR-modified human T cells under conditions that more closely model those that may be encountered in persons with cancer. This analysis shows that 1) depriving IgTCR-modified T cells of interleukin-2 does not diminish anti-CEA cytotoxic T lymphocyte activity, but does eliminate killing by lymphokine-activated killer cells; 2) high levels of soluble CEA do not significantly inhibit tumor cell killing even when approximately 80% of the chimeric receptors are blocked; and 3) CEA+ tumor cells that can down-regulate cell surface CEA evade immune destruction by IgTCR-modified T cells. These results have important implications for application strategies and protocol design considerations for early clinical testing of IgTCR anti-tumor therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen / genetics
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen / immunology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Cytotoxicity Tests, Immunologic
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / immunology*
  • Interleukin-2 / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Lymphokine-Activated / immunology
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / immunology*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / immunology
  • Retroviridae / genetics
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*
  • Transduction, Genetic
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Tumor Escape


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Interleukin-2
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins