Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy has had limited success in early-phase clinical studies for solid tumors. Lack of efficacy is most likely multifactorial, including a limited array of targetable antigens. We reasoned that targeting the cancer-specific extra domain B (EDB) splice variant of fibronectin might overcome this limitation because it is abundantly secreted by cancer cells and adheres to their cell surface. In vitro, EDB-CAR T cells recognized and killed EDB-positive tumor cells. In vivo, 1 × 106 EDB-CAR T cells had potent antitumor activity in both subcutaneous and systemic tumor xenograft models, resulting in a significant survival advantage in comparison with control mice. EDB-CAR T cells also targeted the tumor vasculature, as judged by IHC and imaging, and their antivascular activity was dependent on the secretion of EDB by tumor cells. Thus, targeting tumor-specific splice variants such as EDB with CAR T cells is feasible and has the potential to improve the efficacy of CAR T-cell therapy.
©2020 American Association for Cancer Research.