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Br J Cancer. 2012 Mar 13;106(6):1123-33. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2012.57. Epub 2012 Feb 28.

The ganglioside antigen G(D2) is surface-expressed in Ewing sarcoma and allows for MHC-independent immune targeting.

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Department of Pediatric Haematology and Oncology, University Children's Hospital Muenster, Albert-Schweitzer-Campus 1, Muenster, 48149, Germany.



Novel treatment strategies are needed to cure disseminated Ewing sarcoma. Primitive neuroectodermal features and a mesenchymal stem cell origin are both compatible with aberrant expression of the ganglioside antigen G(D2) and led us to explore G(D2) immune targeting in this cancer.


We investigated G(D2) expression in Ewing sarcoma by immunofluorescence staining. We then assessed the antitumour activity of T cells expressing a chimeric antigen receptor specific for G(D2) against Ewing sarcoma in vitro and in vivo.


Surface G(D2) was detected in 10 out of 10 Ewing sarcoma cell lines and 3 out of 3 primary cell cultures. Moreover, diagnostic biopsies from 12 of 14 patients had uniform G(D2) expression. T cells specifically modified to express the G(D2)-specific chimeric receptor 14. G2a-28ζ efficiently interacted with Ewing sarcoma cells, resulting in antigen-specific secretion of cytokines. Moreover, chimeric receptor gene-modified T cells from healthy donors and from a patient exerted potent, G(D2)-specific cytolytic responses to allogeneic and autologous Ewing sarcoma, including tumour cells grown as multicellular, anchorage-independent spheres. G(D2)-specific T cells further had activity against Ewing sarcoma xenografts.


G(D2) surface expression is a characteristic of Ewing sarcomas and provides a suitable target antigen for immunotherapeutic strategies to eradicate micrometastatic cells and prevent relapse in high-risk disease.

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