CD28 costimulation Impairs the efficacy of a redirected t-cell antitumor attack in the presence of regulatory t cells which can be overcome by preventing Lck activation

David M Kofler, Markus Chmielewski, Gunter Rappl, Anja Hombach, Tobias Riet, Annette Schmidt, Andreas A Hombach, Clemens-Martin Wendtner, Hinrich Abken
Molecular Therapy 2011, 19 (4): 760-7
Adoptive T-cell transfer showed promising efficacy in recent trials raising interest in T cells with redirected specificity against tumors. T cells were engineered with a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) with predefined binding and CD3ζ signaling to initiate T-cell activation. CD28 costimulation provided by a CD28-CD3ζ signaling CAR moreover improved T cell activation and persistence; however, it failed to meet the expectations with respect to mounting attacks against solid tumors infiltrated with regulatory T (Treg) cells. We revealed that a CD28 CAR-redirected T-cell attack is accompanied by higher numbers of Treg cells infiltrating the tumor and is less efficient against cancer cells in presence of Treg cells than a CD3ζ CAR T-cell attack. Deletion of the lck binding moiety in the CD28 CAR endodomain, however, improved redirected anti-tumor activity in presence of Treg cells without impairing interferon-γ (IFN-γ) secretion, proliferation, and cytolysis. CD28 modification abrogated interleukin-2 (IL-2) induction upon CAR engagement which in turn is no longer available to sustain Treg cell persistence. CARs with the modified CD28 endodomain thereby expedite the implementation of adoptive T-cell therapy in patients with a variety of cancer types that are heavily infiltrated by Treg cells.

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