Background: Cancer neoantigens are important targets of cancer immunotherapy and neoantigen vaccines are currently in development in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and other cancer types. Immune regulatory mechanisms in pancreatic cancer may limit the efficacy of neoantigen vaccines. Targeting immune checkpoint signaling pathways in PDAC may improve the efficacy of neoantigen vaccines. Methods: We used KPC4580P, an established model of PDAC, to test whether neoantigen vaccines can generate therapeutic efficacy against PDAC. We focused on two immunogenic neoantigens associated with genetic alterations in the CAR12 and CDK12 genes. We tested a neoantigen vaccine comprised of two 20-mer synthetic long peptides and poly IC, a Toll-like receptor (TLR) agonist. We investigated the ability of neoantigen vaccine alone, or in combination with PD-1 and TIGIT signaling blockade to impact tumor growth. We also assessed the impact of TIGIT signaling on T cell responses in human PDAC. Results: Neoantigen vaccines induce neoantigen-specific T cell responses in tumor-bearing mice and slow KPC4580P tumor growth. However, KPC4580P tumors express high levels of PD-L1 and the TIGIT ligand, CD155. A subset of neoantigen-specific T cells in KPC4580P tumors are dysfunctional, and express high levels of TIGIT. PD-1 and TIGIT signaling blockade in vivo reverses T cell dysfunction and enhances neoantigen vaccine-induced T cell responses and tumor regression. In human translational studies, TIGIT signaling blockade in vitro enhances neoantigen-specific T cell function following vaccination. Conclusions: Taken together, preclinical and human translational studies support testing neoantigen vaccines in combination with therapies targeting the PD-1 and TIGIT signaling pathways in patients with PDAC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1039226
JournalFrontiers in immunology
StatePublished - Dec 8 2022


  • cancer vaccine
  • checkpoint blockade
  • combination immunotherapy
  • neoantigen
  • pancreatic cancer


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