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'Final common pathway' of human cancer immunotherapy: targeting random somatic mutations

Nature Immunology volume 18, pages 255262 (2017) | Download Citation


Effective clinical cancer immunotherapies, such as administration of the cytokine IL-2, adoptive cell transfer (ACT) and the recent success of blockade of the checkpoint modulators CTLA-4 and PD-1, have been developed without clear identification of the immunogenic targets expressed by human cancers in vivo. Immunotherapy of patients with cancer through the use of ACT with autologous lymphocytes has provided an opportunity to directly investigate the antigen recognition of lymphocytes that mediate cancer regression in humans. High-throughput immunological testing of such lymphocytes in combination with improvements in deep sequencing of the autologous cancer have provided new insight into the molecular characterization and incidence of anti-tumor lymphocytes present in patients with cancer. Here we highlight evidence suggesting that T cells that target tumor neoantigens arising from cancer mutations are the main mediators of many effective cancer immunotherapies in humans.

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  1. Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute, Center for Cancer Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

    • Eric Tran
    • , Paul F Robbins
    •  & Steven A Rosenberg


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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Correspondence to Steven A Rosenberg.

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