Purpose: Metastasis to the brain from breast cancer remains a significant clinical challenge, and may be targeted with CAR-based immunotherapy. CAR design optimization for solid tumors is crucial due to the absence of truly restricted antigen expression and potential safety concerns with "on-target off-tumor" activity. Here, we have optimized HER2-CAR T cells for the treatment of breast to brain metastases, and determined optimal second-generation CAR design and route of administration for xenograft mouse models of breast metastatic brain tumors, including multifocal and leptomeningeal disease.Experimental Design: HER2-CAR constructs containing either CD28 or 4-1BB intracellular costimulatory signaling domains were compared for functional activity in vitro by measuring cytokine production, T-cell proliferation, and tumor killing capacity. We also evaluated HER2-CAR T cells delivered by intravenous, local intratumoral, or regional intraventricular routes of administration using in vivo human xenograft models of breast cancer that have metastasized to the brain.Results: Here, we have shown that HER2-CARs containing the 4-1BB costimulatory domain confer improved tumor targeting with reduced T-cell exhaustion phenotype and enhanced proliferative capacity compared with HER2-CARs containing the CD28 costimulatory domain. Local intracranial delivery of HER2-CARs showed potent in vivo antitumor activity in orthotopic xenograft models. Importantly, we demonstrated robust antitumor efficacy following regional intraventricular delivery of HER2-CAR T cells for the treatment of multifocal brain metastases and leptomeningeal disease.Conclusions: Our study shows the importance of CAR design in defining an optimized CAR T cell, and highlights intraventricular delivery of HER2-CAR T cells for treating multifocal brain metastases. Clin Cancer Res; 24(1); 95-105. ©2017 AACR.
©2017 American Association for Cancer Research.