Gene-modified T cells for adoptive immunotherapy of renal cell cancer maintain transgene-specific immune functions in vivo

Cor H J Lamers, Sabine C L Langeveld, Corrien M Groot-van Ruijven, Reno Debets, Stefan Sleijfer, Jan Willem Gratama
Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy: CII 2007, 56 (12): 1875-83

BACKGROUND: We have treated three patients with carboxy-anhydrase-IX (CAIX) positive metastatic renal cell cancer (RCC) by adoptive transfer of autologous T-cells that had been gene-transduced to express a single-chain antibody-G250 chimeric receptor [scFv(G250)], and encountered liver toxicity necessitating adaptation of the treatment protocol. Here, we investigate whether or not the in vivo activity of the infused scFv(G250)(+) T cells is reflected by changes of selected immune parameters measured in peripheral blood.

METHODS: ScFv(G250)-chimeric receptor-mediated functions of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) obtained from three patients during and after treatment were compared to the same functions of scFv(G250)(+) T lymphocytes prior to infusion, and were correlated with plasma cytokine levels.

RESULTS: Prior to infusion, scFv(G250)(+) T lymphocytes showed in vitro high levels of scFv(G250)-chimeric receptor-mediated functions such as killing of CAIX(+) RCC cell lines and cytokine production upon exposure to these cells. High levels of IFN-gamma were produced, whilst production of TNF-alpha, interleukin-4 (IL-4), IL-5 and IL-10 was variable and to lower levels, and that of IL-2 virtually absent. PBMC taken from patients during therapy showed lower levels of in vitro scFv(G250)-receptor-mediated functions as compared to pre-infusion, whilst IFN-gamma was the only detectable cytokine upon in vitro PBMC exposure to CAIX. During treatment, plasma levels of IFN-gamma increased only in the patient with the most prominent liver toxicity. IL-5 plasma levels increased transiently during treatment in all patients, which may have been triggered by the co-administration of IL-2.

CONCLUSION: ScFv(G250)-receptor-mediated functions of the scFv(G250)(+) T lymphocytes are, by and large, preserved in vivo upon administration, and may be reflected by fluctuations in plasma IFN-gamma levels.

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