Although the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell platform has experienced clinical success in patients with hematologic malignancies, CAR T-cells specific to solid tumor targets have met with more limited efficacy. The highly inflammatory nature of oncolytic viruses and their ability to remodel the tumor microenvironment suggested to us that they would provide a complementary mechanism of action to both recruit and potentiate the functionality of CAR T-cells. VSVmIFNβ injection into B16EGFRvIII tumors increased the expression of chemokines such as CXCL10 and CCL5, which we would expect to recruit CXCR3+and CCR5+ EGFRvIII specific murine CAR T-cells. However, we did not observe an increase in overall survival or tumor control using the combination strategy compared to monotherapy with CAR T-cells. We recovered fewer viable CD8+ CAR T-cells from tumors injected with VSVmIFNβ early after adoptive transfer, and observed a similar reduction in the number of CD8+ CAR T-cells which persisted long term in the blood. We have shown that type I interferon increases the expression of the CAR from the retroviral LTR and in turn sensitizes these cells to tonic signaling mediated exhaustion and apoptosis. Correspondingly, CAR T-cells prepared from IFNAR KO T-cells were protected from the deleterious effect of type I IFN in vivo. We are currently investigating strategies to overcome the interference between these two modalities and to uncouple the regulation of the expression of the CAR from type I IFN signaling.
Citation Format: Laura Evgin, Amanda L. Huff, Phonphimon Wongthida, Jill Thompson, Timothy Kottke, John Sampson, Luis Sanchez Perez, Richard Vile. Unexpected antagonism between oncolytic virus derived type I interferon and EGFRvIII CAR T-cells [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the Fourth CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference: Translating Science into Survival; Sept 30-Oct 3, 2018; New York, NY. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Immunol Res 2019;7(2 Suppl):Abstract nr A029.