Constitutive and TNFα-inducible expression of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan 4 in glioblastoma and neurospheres: Implications for CAR-T cell therapy

Serena Pellegatta, Barbara Savoldo, Natalia Di Ianni, Cristina Corbetta, Yuhui Chen, Monica Patané, Chuang Sun, Bianca Pollo, Soldano Ferrone, Francesco DiMeco, Gaetano Finocchiaro, Gianpietro Dotti

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The heterogeneous expression of tumor-associated antigens limits the efficacy of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)- redirected T cells (CAR-Ts) for the treatment of glioblastoma (GBM). We have found that chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan 4 (CSPG4) is highly expressed in 67% of the GBM specimens with limited heterogeneity. CSPG4 is also expressed on primary GBM-derived cells, grown in vitro as neurospheres (GBM-NS), which recapitulate the histopathology and molecular characteristics of primary GBM. CSPG4.CAR-Ts efficiently controlled the growth of GBM-NS in vitro and in vivo upon intracranial tumor inoculation. Moreover, CSPG4.CAR-Ts were also effective against GBM-NS with moderate to low expression of CSPG4. This effect was mediated by the in vivo up-regulation of CSPG4 on tumor cells, induced by tumor necrosis factor-a (TNFα) released by the microglia surrounding the tumor. Overall, the constitutive and TNFα-inducible expression of CSPG4 in GBM may greatly reduce the risk of tumor cell escape observed when targeted antigens are heterogeneously expressed on tumor cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaao2731
JournalScience Translational Medicine
Issue number430
Publication statusPublished - Feb 28 2018


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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