ErbB- and MUC1-targetted CAR-T cell immunotherapy of oral squamous cell carcinoma
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Chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cell therapy has shown great success in treating B cell malignancies however, there are many challenges which limit their therapeutic efficacy in solid tumours. Immunotherapy of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), and in particular, oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), presents a unique set of challenges including lack of consistently expressed tumour associated antigens (TAAs) and the immunosuppressive tumour microenvironment (TME). Currently, there are few clinical trials investigating the use of CAR-T cells in HNSCC/OSCC however results from trials investigating similar solid tumours, such as breast cancer, can be adopted to help evaluate the use of CAR-T in this cancer. In this review, the process of CAR-T cell engineering, and different generations of these cells will be summarised, highlighting their potential use in treating HNSCC through targeting ErbB and MUC1; TAAs highly expressed by this solid tumour. Potential strategies including combination therapy, utilising both TAA-targeting CAR-Ts and immune checkpoint inhibitors, such as PD-L1, has been discussed, in an attempt to develop synergistic anti-tumour responses. In addition to this, the use of dual-targeting CAR-T cells, synthetic NOTCH (synNOTCH) receptors and alternative non-tumour targets of the TME have been reviewed. Such combination therapies have been shown to help limit solid tumour progression and enhance both the safety and efficacy of CAR-T cell immunotherapy, which may be adopted for the treatment and management of OSCC.
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