Background Cancer Testis Antigens (CTAs) are highly expressed in multiple different tumor types, but silent in normal tissue, except the testis. This tumor-restricted expression pattern makes them an ideal target for adoptive T-cell therapy. However, the responsiveness in clinical setting may be hampered because high-affinity T cells against self-antigens presented in the context of self-HLA are deleted in the thymus by negative selection. In this study, we aim to identify high-affinity T cell receptors (TCRs) specific for CTAs from the allogeneic-HLA repertoire.
Materials and Methods In this study, HLA class I binding peptides derived from different CTA genes were identified by HLA-peptide elution experiments and subsequent mass spectrometric analysis. From the identified peptides HLA tetramers were generated to isolate peptide specific CD8+ T cells from healthy allogeneic donors. Efficacy and safety of the TCRs was determined by various different stimulation assays. The most potent TCRs were sequenced, analyzed and transduced into peripheral CD8+ and CD4+ T cells to confirm CTA specific cytokine production and cytotoxicity.
Results MAGE and CTAG peptides were eluted from multiple myelomas, EBV-transformed lymphoblastic cells, acute myeloid leukemia and ovarium carcinomas. We selected TCRs recognizing 3 different MAGE-A1 peptides in the context of HLA-A*02:01, HLA-A*03:01 and HLA-B*07:02. Furthermore, we selected TCRs specific for MAGE-A3 in the context of HLA-B*35:01 and HLA-A*01:01; TCRs specific for MAGE-A9 in the context of HLA-A*01:01 and TCRs specific for CTAG1 in the context of HLA-A*02:01. The selected T-cell clones demonstrated efficient recognition of MAGE-A1, MAGE-A3 or CTAG1 positive multiple myeloma and solid tumor cell lines without detectable cross-reactivity.
Conclusions We identified multiple different TCRs from the allogeneic-HLA repertoire specific for CTA genes. These TCRs demonstrate efficient recognition and killing of CTA positive multiple myeloma and solid tumor cell lines and did not show any cross-reactivity. The peptides recognized by the TCRs are presented in different HLA alleles. Since, 71% of the world population contains one of these HLA-alleles, a large percentage suffering from a MAGE or CTAG positive tumor could potentially be treated with the identified TCRs by TCR-gene therapy.
Disclosure Information M.A.J. de Rooij: None. D.M. van der Steen: None. D. Remst: None. A. Wouters: None. M. van der Meent: None. R.S. Hagedoorn: None. M.G.D. Kester: None. P.A. van Veelen: None. F.J.H. Falkenburg: None. M.H.M. Heemskerk: None.
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