Chimeric T-cell receptors: new challenges for targeted immunotherapy in hematologic malignancies

Haematologica. 2007 Mar;92(3):381-8. doi: 10.3324/haematol.10873.


Chimeric T-cell receptors (ChTCR), are a fascinating technological step in the field of immunotherapy for orienting the activity of immune cells towards specific molecular targets expressed on the cell surface of various tumors, including hematologic malignancies. The main characteristics of ChTCR are their ability to redirect T-cell specificity and their killing/effector activity toward a selected target in a non MHC-restricted manner, exploiting the antigen binding properties of monoclonal antibodies. ChTCR are, in fact, artificial T-cell receptors constituted by an antigen-recognizing antibody molecule linked to a T-cell triggering domain. Various hematologic malignancies represent optimal targets for the exploitation of ChTCR, because of the bright expression of specific antigens on the surface of tumor cells. Thus, CD19 and CD20 have been targeted for B-cell lymphoid tumors (acute lymphoblastic leukemia-ALL, lymphomas and chronic lymphocytic leukemia-CLL), CD33 for myeloid leukemia, and CD30 for lymphomas. Even though technical and safety progresses are still needed to improve the profile of gene transfer and protein expression of ChTCR, phase 1 trials will be carried out in the near future to demonstrate the feasibility of their clinical translation and, it is be hoped, give preliminary indications about their anti-tumor efficacy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / immunology
  • Antigens, CD19 / immunology
  • Antigens, CD20 / immunology
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic / immunology
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology*
  • Child
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Forecasting
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Ki-1 Antigen / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / immunology*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / immunology*
  • Sialic Acid Binding Ig-like Lectin 3
  • T-Cell Antigen Receptor Specificity
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, CD19
  • Antigens, CD20
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • CD33 protein, human
  • Ki-1 Antigen
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Sialic Acid Binding Ig-like Lectin 3