Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy for solid tumors has shown limited efficacy in early-phase clinical studies. The majority of CARs encode CD28 and/or 41BB costimulatory endodomains, and we explored whether MyD88 and CD40 (MC) costimulatory endodomains in CARs could improve their antitumor activity. We generated CD28-, 41BB-, and MC-CAR T cells and demonstrated that MC-CAR T cells have greater proliferative capacity and antitumor activity in repeat stimulation assays and in tumor models in vivo. Transcriptomic analysis revealed that MC-CAR T cells expressed higher levels of MYB and FOXM1, key cell cycle regulators, and were activated at baseline. After stimulation, MC-CAR T cells remained in a less differentiated state than CD28- and 41BB-CAR T cells as judged by low levels of transcription factor TBET and B lymphocyte induced maturation protein 1 expression and lower cytolytic activity in comparison with CD28- and 41BB-CAR T cells. Thus, including MyD88 and CD40 signaling domains in CARs may improve current CAR T cell therapy approaches for solid tumors.
Brooke Prinzing, Patrick Schreiner, Matthew Bell, Yiping Fan, Giedre Krenciute, Stephen Gottschalk