Checkpoint blockade cancer immunotherapy targets tumour-specific mutant antigens

Matthew M. Gubin, Xiuli Zhang, Heiko Schuster, Etienne Caron, Jeffrey P. Ward, Takuro Noguchi, Yulia Ivanova, Jasreet Hundal, Cora D. Arthur, Willem Jan Krebber, Gwenn E. Mulder, Mireille Toebes, Matthew D. Vesely, Samuel S.K. Lam, Alan J. Korman, James P. Allison, Gordon J. Freeman, Arlene H. Sharpe, Erika L. Pearce, Ton N. SchumacherRuedi Aebersold, Hans Georg Rammensee, Cornelis J.M. Melief, Elaine R. Mardis, William E. Gillanders, Maxim N. Artyomov, Robert D. Schreiber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1619 Scopus citations


The immune system influences the fate of developing cancers by not only functioning as a tumour promoter that facilitates cellular transformation, promotes tumour growth and sculpts tumour cell immunogenicity, but also as an extrinsic tumour suppressor that either destroys developing tumours or restrains their expansion. Yet, clinically apparent cancers still arise in immunocompetent individuals in part as a consequence of cancer-inducedimmunosuppression. In many individuals, immunosuppression is mediated by cytotoxic T-lymphocyte associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4) andprogrammeddeath-1 (PD-1), two immunomodulatory receptors expressed on T cells. Monoclonal-antibody-based therapies targetingCTLA-4 and/orPD-1 (checkpoint blockade) have yielded significant clinical benefits - including durable responses - to patients with different malignancies. 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. Here we use genomics and bioinformatics approaches to identify tumourspecific mutant proteins as a major class of T-cell rejection antigens following anti-PD-1 and/or anti-CTLA-4 therapy ofmice bearing progressively growing sarcomas, andwe showthat therapeutic synthetic long-peptide vaccines incorporating these mutant epitopes induce tumour rejection comparably to checkpoint blockade immunotherapy. Althoughmutant tumour-antigen-specificTcells are present in progressively growing tumours, they are reactivated following treatment with anti-PD-1 and/or anti-CTLA-4 and display some overlapping butmostly treatment-specific transcriptional profiles, rendering them capable of mediating tumour rejection.These results reveal that tumour-specific mutant antigens are not only important targets of checkpoint blockade therapy, but they can also be used to develop personalized cancer-specific vaccines and to probe the mechanistic underpinnings of different checkpoint blockade treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-581
Number of pages5
Issue number7528
StatePublished - Nov 27 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'Checkpoint blockade cancer immunotherapy targets tumour-specific mutant antigens'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this