NKp44-based chimeric antigen receptor effectively redirects primary T cells against synovial sarcoma

Yudai Murayama, Yasushi Kasahara, Nobuhiro Kubo, Chansu Shin, Masaru Imamura, Naoki Oike, Takashi Ariizumi, Akihiko Saitoh, Minori Baba, Tomohiro Miyazaki, Yuko Suzuki, Yiwei Ling, Shujiro Okuda, Keichiro Mihara, Akira Ogose, Hiroyuki Kawashima, Chihaya Imai

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: T-cell receptor-engineered T-cell therapies have achieved promising response rates against synovial sarcoma in clinical trials, but their applicability is limited owing to the HLA matching requirement. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) can redirect primary T cells to tumor-associated antigens without requiring HLA matching. However, various obstacles, including the paucity of targetable antigens, must be addressed for synovial sarcoma. Ligands for natural killer (NK) cell-activating receptors are highly expressed by tumor cells. Methods: The surface expression of ligands for NK cell-activating receptors in synovial sarcoma cell lines was analyzed. We analyzed RNA sequencing data deposited in a public database to evaluate NKp44-ligand expression. Primary T cells retrovirally transduced with CAR targeting NKp44 ligands were evaluated for their functions in synovial sarcoma cells. Alterations induced by various stimuli, including a histone deacetylase inhibitor, a hypomethylating agent, inflammatory cytokines, and ionizing radiation, in the expression levels of NKp44 ligands were investigated. Results:: Ligands for NKp44 and NKp30 were expressed in all cell lines. NKG2D ligands were barely expressed in a single cell line. None of the cell lines expressed NKp46 ligand. Primary synovial sarcoma cells expressed the mRNA of the truncated isoform of MLL5, a known cellular ligand for NKp44. NKp44-based CAR T cells specifically recognize synovial sarcoma cells, secrete interferon-γ, and exert suppressive effects on tumor cell growth. No stimulus altered the expression of NKp44 ligands. Conclusion: NKp44-based CAR T cells can redirect primary human T cells to synovial sarcoma cells. CAR-based cell therapies may be an option for treating synovial sarcomas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101521
JournalTranslational Oncology
Publication statusPublished - 11-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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