Effective NY-ESO-1-specific MHC II-restricted T cell receptors from antigen-negative hosts enhance tumor regression


  • L. Poncette
  • X. Chen
  • F.K.M. Lorenz
  • T. Blankenstein


  • Journal of Clinical Investigation


  • J Clin Invest 129 (1): 324-335


  • Adoptive transfer of T cell receptor-engineered (TCR-engineered) T cells is a promising approach in cancer therapy but needs improvement for more effective treatment of solid tumors. While most clinical approaches have focused on CD8(+) T cells, the importance of CD4(+) T cells in mediating tumor regression has become apparent. Regarding shared (self) tumor antigens, it is unclear whether the human CD4(+) T cell repertoire has been shaped by tolerance mechanisms and lacks highly functional TCRs suitable for therapy. Here, TCRs against the tumor-associated antigen NY-ESO-1 were isolated either from human CD4(+) T cells or from mice that express a diverse human TCR repertoire with HLA-DRA/DRB1*0401 restriction and are NY-ESO-1 negative. NY-ESO-1-reactive TCRs from the mice showed superior recognition of tumor cells and higher functional activity compared with TCRs from humans. We identified a candidate TCR, TCR-3598_2, which was expressed in CD4(+) T cells and caused tumor regression in combination with NY-ESO-1-redirected CD8(+) T cells in a mouse model of adoptive T cell therapy. These data suggest that MHC II-restricted TCRs against NY-ESO-1 from a nontolerant nonhuman host are of optimal affinity and that the combined use of MHC I- and II-restricted TCRs against NY-ESO-1 can make adoptive T cell therapy more effective.