Discovery of targeted expression data for novel antibody-based and chimeric antigen receptor-based therapeutics in soft tissue sarcomas using RNA-sequencing: clinical implications

Curr Probl Cancer. 2021 Oct;45(5):100794. doi: 10.1016/j.currproblcancer.2021.100794. Epub 2021 Oct 7.


Recent failure of phase 3 trials and paucity of druggable oncogenic drivers hamper developmental therapeutics in sarcomas. Antibody-based therapeutics, like antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-based therapeutics, have emerged as promising strategies for anticancer drug delivery. The efficacy of these novel therapies is highly dependent on expression of the antibody target. We used RNA sequencing data from Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) to analyze expression of target antigens in sarcoma subtypes including dedifferentiated liposarcoma (DDLPS; n = 50), uterine leiomyosarcoma (ULMS; n = 27), leiomyosarcoma (STLMS; n = 53), undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma (UPS; n = 44), myxofibrosarcoma (MFS; n = 17), synovial sarcoma (SS; n = 10), and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST; n = 5). We searched published literature and for ADC targets, bispecific antibodies, immunotoxins, radioimmunoconjugates, SPEAR T-cells, and CAR's that are in clinical trials. CD70 expression was significantly higher in DDLPS, UPS, and MFS than SS and STLMS. CDH3 expression was greater in LMS and ULMS than UPS (P < 0.001), MFS (P < 0.001), and DDLPS (P < 0.001). ERBB2 expression was low; however, it was overexpressed in MPNST when compared with UPS (P < 0.001), and MFS (P < 0.01). GPNMB was highly expressed in most sarcomas, with the exception of SS. LRRC15 also appeared to be a relevant target, especially in UPS. MSLN expression was relatively low except in SS and MPNST. PDGFRA was also highly expressed in most sarcomas with the exception of ULMS and STLMS. TNFRSF8 seems to be most appropriate in DDLPS, as well as MFS. AXL was expressed especially in MFS and STLMS. Sarcoma subtypes express multiple target genes relevant for ADCs, SPEAR T-cells and CAR's, warranting further clinical validation and evaluation.

Keywords: RNA-seq; antibody drug conjugate; drug development; novel targets; targeted immunotherapy.