Development of T Cells Redirected to Glypican-3 for the Treatment of Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Huiping Gao, Kesang Li, Hong TuXiaorong PanHua JiangBizhi Shi, Juan Kong,Hongyang Wang, Shengli YangJianren Gu, and Zonghai Li



Purpose: The aim of our study is to elucidate whether T cells expressing GPC3-targeted chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) can efficiently eliminate GPC3-positive HCC cells and their potential in the treatment of HCC.
Experimental Design: T cells expressing a first-generation and third-generation GPC3-targeted CAR were prepared using lentiviral vector transduction. The in vitro and in vivocytotoxic activities of the genetically engineered CAR T cells were evaluated against various HCC cell lines.
Results: GPC3-targeted CAR T cells could efficiently kill GPC3-positive HCC cells but not GPC3-negative cells in vitro. These cytotoxic activities seemed to be positively correlated with GPC3 expression levels in the target cells. In addition, T cells expressing the third-generation GPC3-targeted CAR could eradicate HCC xenografts with high level of GPC3 expression and efficiently suppress the growth of HCC xenografts with low GPC3 expression level in vivo. The survival of the mice bearing established orthotopic Huh-7 xenografts was significantly prolonged by the treatment with the third-generation GPC3-targeted CAR T cells.
Conclusions: GPC3-targeted CAR T cells could potently eliminate GPC3-positive HCC cells, thereby providing a promising therapeutic intervention for GPC3-positive HCC.