Chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) bearing an antigen-binding domain linked in cis to the cytoplasmic domains of CD3ζ and costimulatory receptors have provided a potent method for engineering T-cell cytotoxicity toward B-cell leukemia and lymphoma. However, resistance to immunotherapy due to loss of T-cell effector function remains a significant barrier, especially in solid malignancies. We describe an alternative chimeric immunoreceptor design in which we have fused a single-chain variable fragment for antigen recognition to the transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains of KIR2DS2, a stimulatory killer immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR). We show that this simple, KIR-based CAR (KIR-CAR) triggers robust antigen-specific proliferation and effector function in vitro when introduced into human T cells with DAP12, an immunotyrosine-based activation motifs-containing adaptor. T cells modified to express a KIR-CAR and DAP12 exhibit superior antitumor activity compared with standard first- and second-generation CD3ζ-based CARs in a xenograft model of mesothelioma highly resistant to immunotherapy. The enhanced antitumor activity is associated with improved retention of chimeric immunoreceptor expression and improved effector function of isolated tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. These results support the exploration of KIR-CARs for adoptive T-cell immunotherapy, particularly in immunotherapy-resistant solid tumors. Cancer Immunol Res; 1–12. ©2015 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Cancer Immunology Research Online (http://cancerimmunolres.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received February 25, 2015.
- Revision received April 10, 2015.
- Accepted April 14, 2015.
- ©2015 American Association for Cancer Research.