Treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma with CAIX CAR-engineered T cells: Clinical evaluation and management of on-target toxicity
Molecular Therapy , Volume 21 - Issue 4 p. 904- 912
Autologous T cells genetically modified to express a chimeric antibody receptor (CAR) against carboxy-anhydrase-IX (CAIX) were administered to 12 patients with CAIX-expressing metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Patients were treated in three cohorts with a maximum of 10 infusions of a total of 0.2 to 2.1 × 10 9 CAR T cells. CTC grade 2-4 liver enzyme disturbances occurred at the lowest CAR T cell doses, necessitating cessation of treatment in four out of eight patients in cohorts 1 and 2. Examination of liver biopsies revealed CAIX expression on bile duct epithelium with infiltration of T cells, including CAR T cells. Subsequently four patients were pre-treated with CAIX monoclonal antibody (mAb) G250 to prevent CAR-specific toxicity and showed no liver toxicities and indications for enhanced peripheral T cell persistence. No clinical responses were recorded. This report shows that CAIX-targeting CAR T cells exerted antigen-specific effects in vivo and induced liver toxicity at the lowest dose of 0.2 × 10 9 T cells applied, illustrating the potency of receptor-modified T cells. We provide in-patient proof that the observed "on-target" toxicity is antigen-directed and can be prevented by blocking antigenic sites in off-tumor organs and allowing higher T cell doses.