Background: Glioblastoma survival remains unchanged despite continuing therapeutic innovation. Herein, we aim to (i) develop chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells with a specificity to a unique antigen, carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX), which is expressed in the hypoxic microenvironment characteristic of glioblastoma, and (ii) demonstrate its efficacy with limited off-target effects.
Methods: First we demonstrated expression of CAIX in patient-derived glioblastoma samples and available databases. CAR T cells were generated against CAIX and efficacy was assessed in 4 glioblastoma cell lines and 2 glioblastoma stem cell lines. Cytotoxicity of anti-CAIX CAR T cells was assessed via interferon gamma, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and interleukin-2 levels when co-cultured with tumor cells. Finally, we assessed efficacy of direct intratumoral injection of the anti-CAIX CAR T cells on an in vivo xenograft mouse model using the U251 luciferase cell line. Tumor infiltrating lymphocyte analyses were performed.
Results: We confirm that CAIX is highly expressed in glioblastoma from patients. We demonstrate that CAIX is a suitable target for CAR T-cell therapy using anti-CAIX CAR T cells against glioblastoma in vitro and in vivo. In our mouse model, a 20% cure rate was observed without detectable systemic effects.
Conclusions: By establishing the specificity of CAIX under hypoxic conditions in glioblastoma and highlighting its efficacy as a target for CAR T-cell therapy, our data suggest that anti-CAIX CAR T may be a promising strategy to treat glioblastoma. Direct intratumoral injection increases anti-CAIX CAR T-cell potency while limiting its off-target effects.
Keywords: carbonic anhydrase IX; chimeric antigen receptor; glioblastoma; immunotherapy.
Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Neuro-Oncology 2019.