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Chimeric antigen receptor-T cells for targeting solid tumors : current challenges and existing strategies

  • Springuel, Lorraine
  • Lonez, Caroline
  • Alexandre, Bertrand
  • Van Cutsem, Eric
  • Machiels, Jean-Pascal H.
  • Van Den Eynde, Marc
  • Prenen, Hans
  • Hendlisz, Alain
  • Shaza, Leila
  • Carrasco, Javier
  • Canon, Jean-Luc
  • Opyrchal, Mateusz
  • Odunsi, Kunle
  • Rottey, Sylvie
  • Gilham, David E.
  • Flament, Anne
  • Lehmann, Frederic F.
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
DOI: 10.1007/s40259-019-00368-z
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Chimeric antigen receptor-T cells (CAR-Ts) are an exciting new cancer treatment modality exemplified by the recent regulatory approval of two CD19-targeted CAR-T therapies for certain B cell malignancies. However, this success in the hematological setting has yet to translate to a significant level of objective clinical responses in the solid tumor setting. The reason for this lack of translation undoubtedly lies in the substantial challenges raised by solid tumors to all therapies, including CAR-T, that differ from B cell malignancies. For instance, intravenously infused CAR-Ts are likely to make rapid contact with cancerous B cells since both tend to reside in the same vascular compartments within the body. By contrast, solid cancers tend to form discrete tumor masses with an immune-suppressive tumor microenvironment composed of tumor cells and non-tumor stromal cells served by abnormal vasculature that restricts lymphocyte infiltration and suppresses immune function, expansion, and persistence. Moreover, the paucity of uniquely and homogeneously expressed tumor antigens and inherent plasticity of cancer cells provide major challenges to the specificity, potency, and overall effectiveness of CAR-T therapies. This review focuses on the major preclinical and clinical strategies currently being pursued to tackle these challenges in order to drive the success of CAR-T therapy against solid tumors.

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