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      Checkpoint Blockade Cancer Immunotherapy Targets Tumour-Specific Mutant Antigens

      Nature

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          Abstract

          The immune system plays key roles in determining the fate of developing cancers by not only functioning as a tumour promoter facilitating cellular transformation, promoting tumour growth and sculpting tumour cell immunogenicity 1–6 , but also as an extrinsic tumour suppressor that either destroys developing tumours or restrains their expansion 1,2,7 . Yet clinically apparent cancers still arise in immunocompetent individuals in part as a consequence of cancer induced immunosuppression. In many individuals, immunosuppression is mediated by Cytotoxic T-Lymphocyte Associated Antigen-4 (CTLA-4) and Programmed Death-1 (PD-1), two immunomodulatory receptors expressed on T cells 8,9 . Monoclonal antibody (mAb) based therapies targeting CTLA-4 and/or PD-1 (checkpoint blockade) have yielded significant clinical benefits—including durable responses—to patients with different malignancies 10–13 . However, little is known about the identity of the tumour antigens that function as the targets of T cells activated by checkpoint blockade immunotherapy and whether these antigens can be used to generate vaccines that are highly tumour-specific. Herein, we use genomics and bioinformatics approaches to identify tumour-specific mutant proteins as a major class of T cell rejection antigens following αPD-1 and/or αCTLA-4 therapy of mice bearing progressively growing sarcomas and show that therapeutic synthetic long peptide (SLP) vaccines incorporating these mutant epitopes induce tumour rejection comparably to checkpoint blockade immunotherapy. Whereas, mutant tumour antigen-specific T cells are present in progressively growing tumours, they are reactivated following treatment with αPD-1- and/or αCTLA-4 and display some overlapping but mostly treatment-specific transcriptional profiles rendering them capable of mediating tumour rejection. These results reveal that tumour-specific mutant antigens (TSMA) are not only important targets of checkpoint blockade therapy but also can be used to develop personalized cancer-specific vaccines and to probe the mechanistic underpinnings of different checkpoint blockade treatments.

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          Most cited references 47

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          Gene set enrichment analysis: A knowledge-based approach for interpreting genome-wide expression profiles

          Although genomewide RNA expression analysis has become a routine tool in biomedical research, extracting biological insight from such information remains a major challenge. Here, we describe a powerful analytical method called Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) for interpreting gene expression data. The method derives its power by focusing on gene sets, that is, groups of genes that share common biological function, chromosomal location, or regulation. We demonstrate how GSEA yields insights into several cancer-related data sets, including leukemia and lung cancer. Notably, where single-gene analysis finds little similarity between two independent studies of patient survival in lung cancer, GSEA reveals many biological pathways in common. The GSEA method is embodied in a freely available software package, together with an initial database of 1,325 biologically defined gene sets.
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            Improved survival with ipilimumab in patients with metastatic melanoma.

            An improvement in overall survival among patients with metastatic melanoma has been an elusive goal. In this phase 3 study, ipilimumab--which blocks cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 to potentiate an antitumor T-cell response--administered with or without a glycoprotein 100 (gp100) peptide vaccine was compared with gp100 alone in patients with previously treated metastatic melanoma. A total of 676 HLA-A*0201-positive patients with unresectable stage III or IV melanoma, whose disease had progressed while they were receiving therapy for metastatic disease, were randomly assigned, in a 3:1:1 ratio, to receive ipilimumab plus gp100 (403 patients), ipilimumab alone (137), or gp100 alone (136). Ipilimumab, at a dose of 3 mg per kilogram of body weight, was administered with or without gp100 every 3 weeks for up to four treatments (induction). Eligible patients could receive reinduction therapy. The primary end point was overall survival. The median overall survival was 10.0 months among patients receiving ipilimumab plus gp100, as compared with 6.4 months among patients receiving gp100 alone (hazard ratio for death, 0.68; P<0.001). The median overall survival with ipilimumab alone was 10.1 months (hazard ratio for death in the comparison with gp100 alone, 0.66; P=0.003). No difference in overall survival was detected between the ipilimumab groups (hazard ratio with ipilimumab plus gp100, 1.04; P=0.76). Grade 3 or 4 immune-related adverse events occurred in 10 to 15% of patients treated with ipilimumab and in 3% treated with gp100 alone. There were 14 deaths related to the study drugs (2.1%), and 7 were associated with immune-related adverse events. Ipilimumab, with or without a gp100 peptide vaccine, as compared with gp100 alone, improved overall survival in patients with previously treated metastatic melanoma. Adverse events can be severe, long-lasting, or both, but most are reversible with appropriate treatment. (Funded by Medarex and Bristol-Myers Squibb; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00094653.)
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              Safety, activity, and immune correlates of anti-PD-1 antibody in cancer.

              Blockade of programmed death 1 (PD-1), an inhibitory receptor expressed by T cells, can overcome immune resistance. We assessed the antitumor activity and safety of BMS-936558, an antibody that specifically blocks PD-1. We enrolled patients with advanced melanoma, non-small-cell lung cancer, castration-resistant prostate cancer, or renal-cell or colorectal cancer to receive anti-PD-1 antibody at a dose of 0.1 to 10.0 mg per kilogram of body weight every 2 weeks. Response was assessed after each 8-week treatment cycle. Patients received up to 12 cycles until disease progression or a complete response occurred. A total of 296 patients received treatment through February 24, 2012. Grade 3 or 4 drug-related adverse events occurred in 14% of patients; there were three deaths from pulmonary toxicity. No maximum tolerated dose was defined. Adverse events consistent with immune-related causes were observed. Among 236 patients in whom response could be evaluated, objective responses (complete or partial responses) were observed in those with non-small-cell lung cancer, melanoma, or renal-cell cancer. Cumulative response rates (all doses) were 18% among patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (14 of 76 patients), 28% among patients with melanoma (26 of 94 patients), and 27% among patients with renal-cell cancer (9 of 33 patients). Responses were durable; 20 of 31 responses lasted 1 year or more in patients with 1 year or more of follow-up. To assess the role of intratumoral PD-1 ligand (PD-L1) expression in the modulation of the PD-1-PD-L1 pathway, immunohistochemical analysis was performed on pretreatment tumor specimens obtained from 42 patients. Of 17 patients with PD-L1-negative tumors, none had an objective response; 9 of 25 patients (36%) with PD-L1-positive tumors had an objective response (P=0.006). Anti-PD-1 antibody produced objective responses in approximately one in four to one in five patients with non-small-cell lung cancer, melanoma, or renal-cell cancer; the adverse-event profile does not appear to preclude its use. Preliminary data suggest a relationship between PD-L1 expression on tumor cells and objective response. (Funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00730639.).
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                25428507
                4279952
                10.1038/nature13988

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