Characterization of genetically modified T-cell receptors that recognize the CEA: 691-699 peptide in the context of HLA-A2.1 on human colorectal cancer cells

Maria R. Parkhurst, Jayne S Joo, John P. Riley, Zhiya Yu, Yong Li, Paul F. Robbins, Steven A. Rosenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

73 Scopus citations


Purpose: Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is a tumor-associated protein expressed on a variety of adenocarcinomas. To develop an immunotherapy for patients with cancers that overexpress CEA, we isolated and genetically modified a T-cell receptors (TCRs) that specifically bound a CEA peptide on human cancer cells. Experimental Design: HLA-A2.1 transgenic mice were immunized with CEA:691-699. A CEA-reactiveTCR was isolated from splenocytes of these mice and was genetically introduced into human peripheral blood lymphocytes via RNA electroporation or retroviral transduction. Amino acid substitutions were introduced throughout the complementarity determining regions (CDR1, CDR2, and CDR3) of both TCR α and β chains to improve recognition of CEA. Results: Murine lymphocytes bearing the CEA-reactiveTCR specifically recognized peptide-loaded T2 cells and HLA-A2.1 + CEA + human colon cancer cells. Both CD8 + and CD4 + human lymphocytes expressing the murineTCR specifically recognized peptide-loaded T2 cells. However, only gene-modified CD8 + lymphocytes specifically recognized HLA-A2.1 +CEA + colon cancer cell lines, and tumor cell recognition was weak and variable. We identified two substitutions in the CDR3 of the α chain that significantly influenced tumor cell recognition by human peripheral blood lymphocytes. One substitution,Tfor S at position 112 (S112T), enhanced tumor cell recognition by CD8 +lymphocytes, and a second dually substituted receptor (S112T L110F) enhanced tumor cell recognition by CD4 + Tcells. Conclusions: The modified CEA-reactiveTCRs are good candidates for future gene therapy clinical trials and show the power of selected amino acid substitutions in the antigen-binding regions of theTCR to enhance desired reactivities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-180
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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