A cytokine cocktail directly modulates the phenotype of DC-enriched anti-tumor T cells to convey potent anti-tumor activities in a murine model

Shicheng Yang, Gary E Archer, Catherine E Flores, Duane A Mitchell, John H Sampson
Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy: CII 2013, 62 (11): 1649-62
Adoptive cell transfer (ACT) using ex vivo-expanded anti-tumor T cells such as tumor-infiltrated lymphocytes or genetically engineered T cells potently eradicates established tumors. However, these two approaches possess obvious limitations. Therefore, we established a novel methodology using total tumor RNA (ttRNA) to prime dendritic cells (DC) as a platform for the ex vivo generation of anti-tumor T cells. We evaluated the antigen-specific expansion and recognition of T cells generated by the ttRNA-DC-T platform, and directly modulated the differentiation status of these ex vivo-expanded T cells with a cytokine cocktail. Furthermore, we evaluated the persistence and in vivo anti-tumor efficacy of these T cells through murine xenograft and syngeneic tumor models. During ex vivo culture, IL-2 preferentially expanded CD4 subset, while IL-7 enabled homeostatic proliferation from the original precursors. T cells tended to lose CD62L during ex vivo culture using IL-2; however, IL-12 could maintain high levels of CD62L by increasing expression on effector T cells (Tem). In addition, we validated that OVA RNA-DC only selectively expanded T cells in an antigen-specific manner. A cytokine cocktail excluding the use of IL-2 greatly increased CD62Lhigh T cells which specifically recognized tumor cells, engrafted better in a xenograft model and exhibited superior anti-tumor activities in a syngeneic intracranial model. ACT using the ex vivo ttRNA-DC-T platform in conjunction with a cytokine cocktail generated potent CD62Lhigh anti-tumor T cells and imposes a novel T cell-based therapeutic with the potential to treat brain tumors and other cancers.

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