CAR T-Cell Targeting of Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor Receptor

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Macrophage colony-stimulating factor receptor (M-CSFR) is found in cells of the mononuclear phagocyte lineage and is aberrantly expressed in a range of tumours, in addition to tumour-associated macrophages. Consequently, a variety of cancer therapies directed against M-CSFR are under development. We set out to engineer chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) that employ the natural ligands of this receptor, namely M-CSF or interleukin (IL)-34, to achieve specificity for M-CSFR-expressing target cells. Both M-CSF and IL-34 bind to overlapping regions of M-CSFR, although affinity of IL-34 is significantly greater than that of M-CSF. Matched second- and third-generation CARs targeted using M-CSF or IL-34 were expressed in human T-cells using the SFG retroviral vector. We found that both M-CSF- and IL-34-containing CARs enable T-cells to mediate selective destruction of tumour cells that express enforced or endogenous M-CSFR, accompanied by production of both IL-2 and interferon (IFN)-γ. Although they contain an additional co-stimulatory module, third-generation CARs did not outperform second-generation CARs. M-CSF-containing CARs mediated enhanced cytokine production and cytolytic activity compared to IL-34-containing CARs. These data demonstrate the feasibility of targeting M-CSFR using ligand-based CARs and raise the possibility that the low picomolar affinity of IL-34 for M-CSFR is detrimental to CAR function.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2190
Number of pages14
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2022

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