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P08.06 Combining RIG-I-targeted immune activation with CAR T cell therapy induces efficient tumor control in murine pancreatic cancer models
  1. AM Senz,
  2. SL Formisano,
  3. B Cadilha,
  4. T Lorenzini,
  5. S Endres,
  6. S Kobold,
  7. M Schnurr and
  8. LM König
  1. Klinikum der universität münchen, München, Germany


Background The efficacy of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells against solid tumors remains unsatisfactory due to impaired trafficking of the CAR T cells into the tumor microenvironment (TME) and the presence of immunosuppressive factors and cells. 5’- triphosphate double-stranded RNA (3p-RNA) is recognized by the intracellular pattern recognition receptor retinoic acid-induced gene I (RIG-I). RIG-I activates a downstream signaling cascade, triggering the expression of type I interferons (IFN), proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines enhancing immune surveillance in the TME. We hypothesized that priming the TME with RIG-I ligands increases the efficacy of CAR T cell therapy.

Materials and Methods T110299 pancreatic tumor cells (derived from a genetically-engineered Kras and p53 mutant murine PDAC model) were engineered to express murine epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) and used to induce subcutaneous or orthotopic tumors in C57BL/6J female mice. Mice bearing T110299 EpCAM+ tumors were treated with intratumoral or i.v. injections of 3p-RNA followed by i.v. injection of syngeneic murine T cells that were retrovirally tranduced to express anti-EpCAM CARs. Three days after CAR T cell injection, immune cell composition and CAR T cell infiltration in the TME were assessed by flow cytometry. Additionally, tumor growth and survival were monitored.

Results Intratumoral injections of 3p-RNA reshaped the myeloid immune compartment in the TME by significantly reducing suppressive polymorphonuclear-MDSC and macrophages while increasing Ly6Chigh inflammatory monocytes. Moreover, antigen-presenting cells, such as dendritic cells and macrophages, were activated as evidenced by increased MHC-I expression levels. This was paralleled by a significant increase in the infiltration of CAR T cells into the TME in the combination therapy group. Interestingly, anti-EpCAM CAR T cells alone failed to control the tumor growth of T110299 EpCAM+ tumors, while monotherapy with 3p-RNA slightly delayed tumor growth in the subcutaneous model. Combination of 3p-RNA with anti-EpCAM CAR T cells induced a significant clinical benefit with tumor regression in 50% of the treated mice in the subcutaneous tumor model and prolonged survival in an orthotopic model.

Conclusions Remodeling the immunosuppressive TME using RIG-I ligands is a promising strategy for overcoming therapeutic resistance of CAR T cells in solid tumors, such as pancreatic cancer.

Funding The project was supported by the international doctoral program ‘i-Target: Immunotargeting of cancer’ funded by the Elite Network of Bavaria and the Stiftungen zu Gunsten der Medizinischen Fakultät.

Disclosure Information A.M. Senz: None. S.L. Formisano: None. B. Cadilha: None. T. Lorenzini: None. S. Endres: None. S. Kobold: None. M. Schnurr: None. L.M. König: None.

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