Background & aims: New treatment approaches are needed for patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is highly expressed on the surface of pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells; we investigated the effects of cytolytic T cells that recognize CEA in a mouse model of pancreatic carcinoma.
Methods: Immune-competent mice that expressed the CEA transgene (CEAtg) in the intestinal and pulmonary tracts were given intrapancreatic injections of Panc02 CEA(+) cells (express CEA and click beetle luciferase) and tumors were grown for 10 days. Mice were then given single intravenous injections of T cells engineered to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) with high specificity, but moderate affinity, for CEA and a luminescence marker.
Results: Injection of the anti-CEA CAR T cells reduced the size of pancreatic tumors to below the limit of detection in all mice and produced long-term tumor eradication in 67% of mice. T cells also eradicated CEA(+) fibrosarcoma cells injected 45 days later. Bioluminescence imaging revealed the accumulation and persistence of the T cells at the tumor site. The efficacy of the T cells did not require lymphodepletion and was not reduced by soluble CEA. Mice developed some noninflammatory infiltrations of CAR(+) T cells in intestine and lung, but there was no evidence of destruction of CEA(+) healthy tissues.
Conclusions: Injection of T cells that target CEA can eradicate tumors grown from CEA(+) pancreatic carcinoma cells in the pancreas of CEAtg mice without autoimmune effects.
Copyright © 2012 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.