Recent Review Shows Promising Future for CAR T-Cell Therapy in Lung Cancer Treatment

Early research did not show that chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy is effective against lung cancer, a solid tumor, despite its effectiveness in hematologic malignancies. However, a recent review published in the Annals of Translational Medicine explored more recent research exploring use of CAR T-cell therapy to treat lung cancer.

“Lung cancer, as a solid tumor, faces several formidable barriers to adoptive cell transfer, which includes inhibition of T-cell localization and suppression of T-cell function,” wrote the authors, led by Yujia Liu of Tongji University, Shanghai, China.

The authors explored possible progress in the use this therapy in this particular disease state because lung cancer is common and often deadly, but CAR T-cell therapy may provide a new approach to treatment.

The researchers searched the PubMED database for articles that were published in English from 2000 through June 2020 and that contained the terms “CAR T” and “lung cancer.” They also searched research presented at international medical conferences, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO).

The review revealed new research themes, including:

  • CAR T-cell therapy has promise as a supplemental treatment for solid tumors.
  • Barriers to use of CAR T-cell therapy in lung cancer include difficulty penetrating these tumors because of their solid nature, heterogeneous tumor antigens and therefore difficulty identifying appropriate targets, and immunosuppressive factors.
  • New studies are using novel approaches to identify tumor targets, reduce toxicity, and overcome the barriers to use of CAR T-cell therapy in lung cancer.

“We should be optimistic that the development of CAR T-cell technology provides an excellent way for tumor treatment, which does not depend on major histocompatibility complex molecules and provides a new method for the utilization of tumor targets,” the authors wrote. “CAR T-cell technology will play a decisive role in the treatment of lung cancer.”