Anti-CAIX BBζ CAR4/8 T cells exhibit superior efficacy in a ccRCC mouse model

Mol Ther Oncolytics. 2021 Dec 31:24:385-399. doi: 10.1016/j.omto.2021.12.019. eCollection 2022 Mar 17.


Improving CAR-T cell therapy for solid tumors requires a better understanding of CAR design and cellular composition. Here, we compared second-generation (BBζ and 28ζ) with third-generation (28BBζ) carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX)-targeted CAR constructs and investigated the antitumor effect of CAR-T cells with different CD4/CD8 proportions in vitro and in vivo. The results demonstrated that BBζ exhibited superior efficacy compared with 28ζ and 28BBζ CAR-T cells in a clear-cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) skrc-59 cell bearing NSG-SGM3 mouse model. The mice treated with a single dose of BBζ CD4/CD8 mixture (CAR4/8) showed complete tumor remission and remained tumor-free 72 days after CAR-T cells infusion. In the other CAR-T and control groups, tumor-infiltrating T cells were recovered and profiled. We found that BBζ CAR8 cells upregulated expression of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II and cytotoxicity-associated genes, while downregulating inhibitory immune checkpoint receptor genes and diminishing differentiation of regulatory T cells (Treg cells), leading to excellent therapeutic efficacy in vivo. Increased memory phenotype, elevated tumor infiltration, and decreased exhaustion genes were observed in the CD4/8 untransduced T (UNT) cells compared with CD8 alone, indicating that CD4/8 would be the favored cellular composition for CAR-T cell therapy with long-term persistence. In summary, these findings support that BBζ CAR4/8 cells are a highly potent, clinically translatable cell therapy for ccRCC.

Keywords: 4-1BB (CD137); CAIX; CAR-T; carbonic anhydrase IX; ccRCC; ccRCC orthotopic NSG-SGM3 mouse model; chimeric antigen receptor T; clear cell renal cell carcinoma; scRNA-seq; single-cell RNA sequencing.