T lymphocytes against tumor-specific mutated neoantigens can induce tumor regression. Also, the size of the immunogenic cancer mutanome is supposed to correlate with the clinical efficacy of checkpoint inhibition. Herein, we studied the susceptibility of tumor cell lines from lymph node metastases occurring in a melanoma patient over several years towards blood-derived, neoantigen-specific CD8+ T cells. In contrast to a cell line established during early stage III disease, all cell lines generated at later time points from stage IV metastases exhibited partial or complete loss of HLA class I expression. Whole exome and transcriptome sequencing of the four tumor lines and a germline control were applied to identify expressed somatic single nucleotide substitutions (SNS), insertions and deletions (indels). Candidate peptides encoded by these variants and predicted to bind to the patient's HLA class I alleles were synthesized and tested for recognition by autologous mixed lymphocyte-tumor cell cultures (MLTCs). Peptides from four mutated proteins, HERPUD1G161S, INSIG1S238F, MMS22LS437F and PRDM10S1050F, were recognized by MLTC responders and MLTC-derived T cell clones restricted by HLA-A*24:02 or HLA-B*15:01. Intracellular peptide processing was verified with transfectants. All four neoantigens could only be targeted on the cell line generated during early stage III disease. HLA loss variants of any kind were uniformly resistant. These findings corroborate that, although neoantigens represent attractive therapeutic targets, they also contribute to the process of cancer immunoediting as a serious limitation to specific T cell immunotherapy.
Type of Publication:
Journal article published