C3aR costimulation enhances the antitumor efficacy of CAR-T cell therapy through Th17 expansion and memory T cell induction

This article was originally published here

J Hematol Oncol. 2022 May 21;15(1):68. doi: 10.1186/s13045-022-01288-2.


Although chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified adoptive T cell therapy is a promising immunotherapy for hematological malignancies, the efficacy improvement in relapsed/refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) with extramedullary infiltration and in multiple myeloma (MM) is still warranted. Since C3aR activation can promote the expansion of tumor-killing Th17 cells, we hypothesized that incorporating C3aR as a costimulatory domain would augment the antitumor activity of CAR-T. In this study, we introduced the C3aR domain into a CAR and generated BB-ζ-C3aR CAR-T targeting CD19 or BCMA. These new CAR-T exhibited a potent cytolytic ability to eradicate tumor cells expressing CD19 or BCMA in vitro. When administered intravenously to ALL or MM xenograft mouse models, BB-ζ-C3aR CAR-T reduced the tumor burden and improved the survival rate. Of note, these CAR-T could effectively eradicate subcutaneous CD19+ tumor cells, highlighting the therapeutic potential in extramedullary leukemia. Mechanistically, BB-ζ-C3aR CAR-T tended to exhibit a Th17 phenotype favoring tumor killing and suppressed Tregs. In addition, the induction of memory T cell in the BB-ζ-C3aR CAR-T cells indicated their long-term effects. Together, our findings suggest that the application of C3aR costimulation boosts the ability of CAR-T to eradicate aggressive tumor cells via Th17 expansion and memory T cell induction.

PMID:35597971 | DOI:10.1186/s13045-022-01288-2