Glioblastoma (GBM) patients suffer from a dismal prognosis, with standard of care therapy inevitably leading to therapy-resistant recurrent tumors. The presence of brain tumor initiating cells (BTICs) drives the extensive heterogeneity seen in GBM, prompting the need for novel therapies specifically targeting this subset of tumor-driving cells. Here we identify CD70 as a potential therapeutic target for recurrent GBM BTICs.
In the current study, we identified the relevance and functional influence of CD70 on primary and recurrent GBM cells, and further define its function using established stem cell assays. We utilize CD70 knockdown studies, subsequent RNAseq pathway analysis, and
in vivoxenotransplantation to validate CD70’s role in GBM. Next, we developed and tested an anti-CD70 CAR-T therapy, which we validated in vitroand in vivousing our established preclinical model of human GBM. Lastly, we explored the importance of CD70 in the tumor immune microenvironment (TIME) by assessing the presence of its receptor, CD27, in immune infiltrates derived from freshly resected GBM tumor samples. Results
CD70 expression is elevated in recurrent GBM and CD70 knockdown reduces tumorigenicity in vitro and in vivo. CD70 CAR-T therapy significantly improves prognosis
in vivo. We also found CD27 to be present on the cell surface of multiple relevant GBM TIME cell populations. Conclusion
CD70 plays a key role in recurrent GBM cell aggressiveness and maintenance. Immunotherapeutic targeting of CD70 significantly improves survival in animal models and the CD70/CD27 axis may be a viable poly-therapeutic avenue to co-target both GBM and its TIME.