Neoantigens are newly formed peptides created from somatic mutations that are capable of inducing tumor-specific T cell recognition. Recently, researchers and clinicians have leveraged next generation sequencing technologies to identify neoantigens and to create personalized immunotherapies for cancer treatment. To create a personalized cancer vaccine, neoantigens must be computationally predicted from matched tumor-normal sequencing data, and then ranked according to their predicted capability in stimulating a T cell response. This candidate neoantigen prediction process involves multiple steps, including somatic mutation identification, HLA typing, peptide processing, and peptide-MHC binding prediction. The general workflow has been utilized for many preclinical and clinical trials, but there is no current consensus approach and few established best practices. In this article, we review recent discoveries, summarize the available computational tools, and provide analysis considerations for each step, including neoantigen prediction, prioritization, delivery, and validation methods. In addition to reviewing the current state of neoantigen analysis, we provide practical guidance, specific recommendations, and extensive discussion of critical concepts and points of confusion in the practice of neoantigen characterization for clinical use. Finally, we outline necessary areas of development, including the need to improve HLA class II typing accuracy, to expand software support for diverse neoantigen sources, and to incorporate clinical response data to improve neoantigen prediction algorithms. The ultimate goal of neoantigen characterization workflows is to create personalized vaccines that improve patient outcomes in diverse cancer types.

Original languageEnglish
Article number56
JournalGenome medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 28 2019


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