Treatment of high-risk neuroblastoma (NB) represents a major challenge in paediatric oncology. Alternative therapeutic strategies include antibodies targeting the disialoganglioside GD(2) , which is expressed at high levels on NB cells, and infusion of donor-derived natural killer (NK) cells. To combine specific antibody-mediated recognition of NB cells with the potent cytotoxic activity of NK cells, here we generated clonal derivatives of the clinically applicable human NK cell line NK-92 that stably express a GD(2) -specific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) comprising an anti-GD(2) ch14.18 single chain Fv antibody fusion protein with CD3-ζ chain as a signalling moiety. CAR expression by gene-modified NK cells facilitated effective recognition and elimination of established GD(2) expressing NB cells, which were resistant to parental NK-92. In the case of intrinsically NK-sensitive NB cell lines, we observed markedly increased cell killing activity of retargeted NK-92 cells. Enhanced cell killing was strictly dependent on specific recognition of the target antigen and could be blocked by GD(2) -specific antibody or anti-idiotypic antibody occupying the CAR's cell recognition domain. Importantly, strongly enhanced cytotoxicity of the GD(2) -specific NK cells was also found against primary NB cells and GD(2) expressing tumour cells of other origins, demonstrating the potential clinical utility of the retargeted effector cells.
© 2012 Foundation for Cellular and Molecular Medicine/Blackwell Publishing Ltd.