Antitumor treatments based on the infusion of T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors (CAR T cells) are still relatively ineffective for solid tumors, due to the presence of immunosuppressive mediators [such as prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and adenosine] and poor T-cell trafficking. PGE2 and adenosine activate protein kinase A (PKA), which then inhibits T-cell receptor (TCR) activation. This inhibition process requires PKA to localize to the immune synapse via binding to the membrane protein ezrin. We generated CAR T cells that expressed a small peptide called the “regulatory subunit I anchoring disruptor” (RIAD) that inhibits the association of PKA with ezrin, thus blunting the negative effects of PKA on TCR activation. After exposure to PGE2 or adenosine in vitro, CAR-RIAD T cells showed increased TCR signaling, released more cytokines, and showed enhanced killing of tumor cells compared with CAR T cells. When injected into tumor-bearing mice, the antitumor efficacy of murine and human CAR-RIAD T cells was enhanced compared with that of CAR T cells, due to resistance to tumor-induced hypofunction and increased T-cell infiltration of established tumors. Subsequent in vitro assays showed that both mouse and human CAR-RIAD cells migrated more efficiently than CAR cells did in response to the chemokine CXCL10 and also had better adhesion to various matrices. Thus, the intracellular addition of the RIAD peptide to adoptively transferred CAR T cells augments their efficacy by increasing their effector function and by improving trafficking into tumor sites. This treatment strategy, therefore, shows potential clinical application for treating solid tumors. Cancer Immunol Res; 4(6); 1–11. ©2016 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Cancer Immunology Research Online (http://cancerimmunolres.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received October 23, 2015.
- Revision received February 18, 2016.
- Accepted March 4, 2016.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.