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CAR-T cell therapy in gastrointestinal tumors and hepatic carcinoma: From bench to bedside

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      The chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) is a genetically engineered receptor that combines a scFv domain, which specifically recognizes the tumor-specific antigen, with T cell activation domains. CAR-T cell therapies have demonstrated tremendous efficacy against hematologic malignancies in many clinical trials. Recent studies have extended these efforts to the treatment of solid tumors. However, the outcomes of CAR-T cell therapy for solid tumors are not as remarkable as the outcomes have been for hematologic malignancies. A series of hurdles has arisen with respect to CAR-T cell-based immunotherapy, which needs to be overcome to target solid tumors. The major challenge for CAR-T cell therapy in solid tumors is the selection of the appropriate specific antigen to demarcate the tumor from normal tissue. In this review, we discuss the application of CAR-T cells to gastrointestinal and hepatic carcinomas in preclinical and clinical research. Furthermore, we analyze the usefulness of several specific markers in the study of gastrointestinal tumors and hepatic carcinoma.

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      Most cited references 104

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      Chimeric antigen receptor T cells for sustained remissions in leukemia.

      Relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is difficult to treat despite the availability of aggressive therapies. Chimeric antigen receptor-modified T cells targeting CD19 may overcome many limitations of conventional therapies and induce remission in patients with refractory disease. We infused autologous T cells transduced with a CD19-directed chimeric antigen receptor (CTL019) lentiviral vector in patients with relapsed or refractory ALL at doses of 0.76×10(6) to 20.6×10(6) CTL019 cells per kilogram of body weight. Patients were monitored for a response, toxic effects, and the expansion and persistence of circulating CTL019 T cells. A total of 30 children and adults received CTL019. Complete remission was achieved in 27 patients (90%), including 2 patients with blinatumomab-refractory disease and 15 who had undergone stem-cell transplantation. CTL019 cells proliferated in vivo and were detectable in the blood, bone marrow, and cerebrospinal fluid of patients who had a response. Sustained remission was achieved with a 6-month event-free survival rate of 67% (95% confidence interval [CI], 51 to 88) and an overall survival rate of 78% (95% CI, 65 to 95). At 6 months, the probability that a patient would have persistence of CTL019 was 68% (95% CI, 50 to 92) and the probability that a patient would have relapse-free B-cell aplasia was 73% (95% CI, 57 to 94). All the patients had the cytokine-release syndrome. Severe cytokine-release syndrome, which developed in 27% of the patients, was associated with a higher disease burden before infusion and was effectively treated with the anti-interleukin-6 receptor antibody tocilizumab. Chimeric antigen receptor-modified T-cell therapy against CD19 was effective in treating relapsed and refractory ALL. CTL019 was associated with a high remission rate, even among patients for whom stem-cell transplantation had failed, and durable remissions up to 24 months were observed. (Funded by Novartis and others; CART19 numbers, NCT01626495 and NCT01029366.).
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        Chimeric antigen receptor-modified T cells for acute lymphoid leukemia.

        Chimeric antigen receptor-modified T cells with specificity for CD19 have shown promise in the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). It remains to be established whether chimeric antigen receptor T cells have clinical activity in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Two children with relapsed and refractory pre-B-cell ALL received infusions of T cells transduced with anti-CD19 antibody and a T-cell signaling molecule (CTL019 chimeric antigen receptor T cells), at a dose of 1.4×10(6) to 1.2×10(7) CTL019 cells per kilogram of body weight. In both patients, CTL019 T cells expanded to a level that was more than 1000 times as high as the initial engraftment level, and the cells were identified in bone marrow. In addition, the chimeric antigen receptor T cells were observed in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), where they persisted at high levels for at least 6 months. Eight grade 3 or 4 adverse events were noted. The cytokine-release syndrome and B-cell aplasia developed in both patients. In one child, the cytokine-release syndrome was severe; cytokine blockade with etanercept and tocilizumab was effective in reversing the syndrome and did not prevent expansion of chimeric antigen receptor T cells or reduce antileukemic efficacy. Complete remission was observed in both patients and is ongoing in one patient at 11 months after treatment. The other patient had a relapse, with blast cells that no longer expressed CD19, approximately 2 months after treatment. Chimeric antigen receptor-modified T cells are capable of killing even aggressive, treatment-refractory acute leukemia cells in vivo. The emergence of tumor cells that no longer express the target indicates a need to target other molecules in addition to CD19 in some patients with ALL.
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          T cells expressing CD19 chimeric antigen receptors for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in children and young adults: a phase 1 dose-escalation trial.

          Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) modified T cells targeting CD19 have shown activity in case series of patients with acute and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and B-cell lymphomas, but feasibility, toxicity, and response rates of consecutively enrolled patients treated with a consistent regimen and assessed on an intention-to-treat basis have not been reported. We aimed to define feasibility, toxicity, maximum tolerated dose, response rate, and biological correlates of response in children and young adults with refractory B-cell malignancies treated with CD19-CAR T cells.

            Author and article information

            [a ]Laboratory of Immunology and Inflammation, Department of Immunology and Research Center of Basic Medical Science, Tianjin Medical University , Tianjin, China
            [b ]Key Laboratory of Immune Microenvironment and Diseases of Educational Ministry of China, Tianjin Key Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Immunology, Tianjin Medical University , Tianjin, China
            [c ]Department of Immunology, Basic Medical College, Weifang Medical University , Weifang, China
            Author notes
            CONTACT Rongxin Zhang rongxinz@ Laboratory of Immunology and Inflammation, Department of Immunology and Research Center of Basic Medical Science, Tianjin Medical University , Tianjin 300070, China

            These authors contributed equally to this work.

            Taylor & Francis
            28 October 2016
            28 October 2016
            : 5
            : 12
            © 2016 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

            Figures: 1, Tables: 2, References: 104, Pages: 13


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