Follicle-stimulating hormone receptor is expressed by most ovarian cancer subtypes and is a safe and effective immunotherapeutic target

Alfredo Perales-Puchalt, Nikolaos Svoronos, Melanie R. Rutkowski, Michael J. Allegrezza, Amelia J. Tesone, Kyle K. Payne, Jayamanna Wickramasinghe, Jenny M. Nguyen, Shane W. O'Brien, Kiranmai Gumireddy, Qihong Huang, Mark G. Cadungog, Denise C. Connolly, Julia Tchou, Tyler J. Curiel, Jose R. Conejo-Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Purpose: To define the safety and effectiveness of T cells redirected against follicle-stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR)- expressing ovarian cancer cells. Experimental Design: FSHR expression was determined by Western blotting, immunohistochemistry, and qPCR in 77 human ovarian cancer specimens from 6 different histologic subtypes and 20 human healthy tissues. The effectiveness of human T cells targeted with full-length FSH in vivo was determined against a panel of patient-derived xenografts. Safety and effectiveness were confirmed in immunocompetent tumor-bearing mice, using constructs targeting murine FSHR and syngeneic T cells. Results: FSHR is expressed in gynecologic malignancies of different histologic types but not in nonovarian healthy tissues. Accordingly, T cells expressing full-length FSHR-redirected chimeric receptors mediate significant therapeutic effects (including tumor rejection) against a panel of patient-derived tumors in vivo. In immunocompetent mice growing syngeneic, orthotopic, and aggressive ovarian tumors, fully murine FSHR-Targeted T cells also increased survival without any measurable toxicity. Notably, chimeric receptors enhanced the ability of endogenous tumorreactive T cells to abrogate malignant progression upon adoptive transfer into nave recipients subsequently challenged with the same tumor. Interestingly, FSHR-Targeted T cells persisted as memory lymphocytes without noticeable PD-1-dependent exhaustion during end-stage disease, in the absence of tumor cell immunoediting. However, exosomes in advanced tumor ascites diverted the effector activity of this and other chimeric receptor-Transduced T cells away from targeted tumor cells. Conclusions: T cells redirected against FSHR tumor cells with full-length FSH represent a promising therapeutic alternative against a broad range of ovarian malignancies, with negligible toxicity even in the presence of cognate targets in tumor-free ovaries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-453
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Follicle-stimulating hormone receptor is expressed by most ovarian cancer subtypes and is a safe and effective immunotherapeutic target'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this