Safety and Efficacy of Intratumoral Injections of Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T Cells in Metastatic Breast Cancer.

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Source:

Cancer immunology research, Volume 5, Issue 12, p.1152-1161 (2017)

Keywords:

Experimental Histopathology Core Facility

Abstract:

Chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) are synthetic molecules that provide new specificities to T cells. Although successful in treatment of hematologic malignancies, CAR T cells are ineffective for solid tumors to date. We found that the cell-surface molecule c-Met was expressed in ∼50% of breast tumors, prompting the construction of a CAR T cell specific for c-Met, which halted tumor growth in immune-incompetent mice with tumor xenografts. We then evaluated the safety and feasibility of treating metastatic breast cancer with intratumoral administration of mRNA-transfected c-Met-CAR T cells in a phase 0 clinical trial (NCT01837602). Introducing the CAR construct via mRNA ensured safety by limiting the nontumor cell effects (on-target/off-tumor) of targeting c-Met. Patients with metastatic breast cancer with accessible cutaneous or lymph node metastases received a single intratumoral injection of 3 × 10(7) or 3 × 10(8) cells. CAR T mRNA was detectable in peripheral blood and in the injected tumor tissues after intratumoral injection in 2 and 4 patients, respectively. mRNA c-Met-CAR T cell injections were well tolerated, as none of the patients had study drug-related adverse effects greater than grade 1. Tumors treated with intratumoral injected mRNA c-Met-CAR T cells were excised and analyzed by immunohistochemistry, revealing extensive tumor necrosis at the injection site, cellular debris, loss of c-Met immunoreactivity, all surrounded by macrophages at the leading edges and within necrotic zones. We conclude that intratumoral injections of mRNA c-Met-CAR T cells are well tolerated and evoke an inflammatory response within tumors. Cancer Immunol Res; 5(12); 1-10. ©2017 AACR.