Redirecting human T lymphocytes toward renal cell carcinoma specificity by retroviral transfer of T cell receptor genes


  • B. Engels
  • E. Noessner
  • B. Frankenberger
  • T. Blankenstein
  • D.J. Schendel
  • W. Uckert


  • Human Gene Therapy


  • Hum Gene Ther 16 (7): 799-810


  • Adoptive T cell therapy of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is limited by the difficulty in generating sufficient numbers of RCC-reactive T cells in vitro. To circumvent this problem, we cloned T cell receptor (TCR) α and β chains from a tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte clone specific for an RCC tumor antigen and transferred the TCR into human T cell lines and primary T lymphocytes. Efficient TCR expression in primary T lymphocytes was obtained only with a mouse myeloproliferative sarcoma virus (MPSV)-based retroviral vector, not with a Moloney murine leukemia virus (MLV)-based vector, although both viral supernatants were similar in titer, as shown by analysis of copy number integration in transduced T cells. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed a higher amount of TCR-encoding transcripts when T cells were transduced with the MPSV vector in comparison with the MLV vector, indicating that high TCR expression levels can be achieved by appropriate cis-regulatory vector elements. The biological activity of the transferred TCR was shown by specific lysis of RCC cells (51Cr release assay) and by interferon γ and tumor necrosis factor α release (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) in an antigen-specific and HLA-A*0201-restricted fashion. Comparison of the redirected T lymphocytes with the original tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte clone revealed similar killing and cytokine secretion capabilities. The functional activity of TCR-redirected T lymphocytes was stable over time. The results demonstrate that use of an optimized retroviral vector yielded a high TCR transduction efficiency and stable and high TCR expression in primary human T lymphocytes and redirected their specificity toward RCC cells.