Targeting glycosylated antigens on cancer cells using siglec-7/9-based CAR T-cells

Sara Meril, Ortal Harush, Yishai Reboh, Tatyana Matikhina, Tilda Barliya, Cyrille J. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells treatment demonstrate the increasing and powerful potential of immunotherapeutic strategies, as seen mainly for hematological malignancies. Still, efficient CAR-T cell approaches for the treatment of a broader spectrum of tumors are needed. It has been shown that cancer cells can implement strategies to evade immune response that include the expression of inhibitory ligands, such as hypersialylated proteins (sialoglycans) on their surface. These may be recognized by sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-type lectins (siglecs) which are surface receptors found primarily on immune cells. In this regard, siglec-7 and -9 are found on immune cells, such as natural killer cells, T-cells, and dendritic cells and they can promote immune suppression when binding to sialic acids expressed on target cells. In the present study, we hypothesized that it is possible to use genetically engineered T-cells expressing siglec-based CARs, enabling them to recognize and eliminate tumor cells, in a non-histocompatibility complex molecule restricted way. Thus, we genetically modified human T-cells with different chimeric receptors based on the exodomain of human siglec-7 and -9 molecules and selected optimal receptors. We then assessed their antitumor activity in vitro demonstrating the recognition of cell lines from different histologies. These results were confirmed in a tumor xenograft model exemplifying the potential of the present approach. Overall, this study demonstrates the benefit of targeting cancer-associated glycosylation patterns using CAR based on native immune receptors and expressed in human primary T-cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-723
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Carcinogenesis
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Ms. Riki Sabbag for her technical help in executing in vivo experiments work and Dr. Jennifer Benichou Israel Cohen, head of the statistical unit in the Faculty of Life Sciences, Bar-Ilan University for her advice on statistical data processing and presentation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Wiley Periodicals LLC


  • T-cell engineering
  • chimeric receptors
  • sialylation
  • tumor immunotherapy


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