In solid tumors, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified T cells must overcome the challenges of the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. We hypothesized that pre-treating tumors with our binary oncolytic adenovirus (CAd), which produces local oncolysis and expresses immunostimulatory molecules, would enhance the antitumor activity of HER2-specific CAR T cells, which alone are insufficient to cure solid tumors. We tested multiple cytokines in conjunction with PD-L1-blocking antibody and found that Ad-derived IL-12p70 prevents the loss of HER2.CAR-expressing T cells at the tumor site. Accordingly, we created a construct encoding the PD-L1-blocking antibody and IL-12p70 (CAd12_PDL1). In head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) xenograft models, combining local treatment with CAd12_PDL1 and systemic HER2.CAR T cell infusion improved survival to >100 days compared with approximately 25 days with either approach alone. This combination also controlled both primary and metastasized tumors in an orthotopic model of HNSCC. Overall, our data show that CAd12_PDL1 augments the anti-tumor effects of HER2.CAR T cells, thus controlling the growth of both primary and metastasized tumors.
Keywords: CAR T cell therapy; adenovirotherapy; head and neck cancer; oncolytic virus; orthotopic animal model.
Copyright © 2017 The American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.