LIGHT/TNFSF14 promotes CAR-T cell trafficking and cytotoxicity through reversing immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment

Mol Ther. 2023 Sep 6;31(9):2575-2590. doi: 10.1016/j.ymthe.2023.06.015. Epub 2023 Jul 5.


Tertiary lymphoid structures (TLSs) in tumor tissues facilitate immune cell trafficking and cytotoxicity, which benefits survival and favorable responses in immune therapy. Here, we observed a high correlation of tumor necrosis factor superfamily member 14 (LIGHT) expression with TLS signature genes, which are all markers for immune cell accumulation and better prognosis, through retrieving RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) data from patients with cancer, suggesting the potential of LIGHT in reconstituting a high immune-infiltrated tumor microenvironment. Accordingly, LIGHT co-expressed chimeric antigen receptor T (LIGHT CAR-T) cells not only showed enhanced cytotoxicity and cytokine production but also improved CCL19 and CCL21 expression by surrounding cells. And the supernatant of LIGHT CAR-T cells promoted T cell migration in a paracrine manner. Furthermore, LIGHT CAR-T cells showed superior anti-tumor efficacy and improved infiltration in comparison with conventional CAR-T cells in immunodeficient NSG mice. Accordingly, murine LIGHT-OT-1 T cells normalized tumor blood vessels and enforced intratumoral lymphoid structures in C57BL/6 syngeneic tumor mouse models, implying the potential of LIGHT CAR-T in clinical application. Taken together, our data revealed a straightforward strategy to optimize trafficking and cytotoxicity of CAR-T cells by redirecting TLSs through LIGHT expression, which has great potential to expand and optimize the application of CAR-T therapy in solid tumors.

Keywords: CAR-T; LIGHT/TNFSF14; TLSs; prostate cancer; tumor microenvironment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Receptors, Chimeric Antigen* / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes
  • Tumor Microenvironment / genetics
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Ligand Superfamily Member 14*


  • Receptors, Chimeric Antigen
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Ligand Superfamily Member 14