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Understanding the impact of immune-mediated selection on lung cancer evolution


Understanding how a tumour evolves and avoids immune recognition is paramount to improving cancer immunotherapy and patient outcome. Here we examine our recent integration of multi-region genomic, transcriptomic, epigenomic, pathology, and clinical data, highlight the need for a systematic examination of immune escape mechanisms, and discuss implications for immunotherapy approaches.

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Author information




R.R., N.M., and C.S. jointly conceived and wrote the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rachel Rosenthal.

Ethics declarations

Ethics approval and consent to participate

All results and patient data referenced in this study have been previously published.

Consent to publish

Not applicable.

Data availability

All data were published in under the EGA accession codes: EGAS00001003458 (RNA-seq) and EGAS00001003484 (RRBS).

Competing interests

C.S. acknowledges grant support from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Bristol Myers Squibb, Roche-Ventana, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Archer Dx Inc. (collaboration in minimal residual disease sequencing technologies) and Ono Pharmaceutical; is an AstraZeneca Advisory Board Member and Chief Investigator for the MeRmaiD1 clinical trial; has consulted for Pfizer, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, MSD, Bristol Myers Squibb, Celgene, AstraZeneca, Illumina, Genentech, Roche-Ventana, GRAIL, Medicxi and the Sarah Cannon Research Institute; has stock options in Apogen Biotechnologies, Epic Bioscience and GRAIL; and has stock options and is co-founder of Achilles Therapeutics. C.S. holds European patents relating to assay technology to detect tumour recurrence (PCT/GB2017/053289); to targeting neoantigens (PCT/EP2016/059401), identifying patent response to immune checkpoint blockade (PCT/EP2016/071471), determining HLA LOH (PCT/GB2018/052004), predicting survival rates of patients with cancer (PCT/GB2020/050221), identifying patients who respond to cancer treatment (PCT/GB2018/051912), a US patent relating to detecting tumour mutations (PCT/US2017/28013) and both a European and US patent related to identifying insertion/deletion mutation targets (PCT/GB2018/051892). N.M. and R.R. have stock options in and has consulted for Achilles Therapeutics and holds a European patent in determining HLA LOH (PCT/GB2018/052004).

Funding information

C.S. is a Royal Society Napier Research Professor. His work was supported by the Francis Crick Institute, which receives its core funding from Cancer Research UK (FC001169), the UK Medical Research Council (FC001169) and the Wellcome Trust (FC001169). C.S. is funded by Cancer Research UK (TRACERx, PEACE and CRUK Cancer Immunotherapy Catalyst Network), Cancer Research UK Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence, the Rosetrees Trust, Butterfield and Stoneygate Trusts, NovoNordisk Foundation (ID16584), Royal Society Research Professorships Enhancement Award (RP/EA/180007), the NIHR BRC at University College London Hospitals, the CRUK-UCL Centre, Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). This research is supported by a Stand Up To Cancer-LUNGevity-American Lung Association Lung Cancer Interception Dream Team Translational Research Grant (SU2C-AACR-DT23-17). Stand Up To Cancer is a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation. Research grants are administered by the American Association for Cancer Research, the Scientific Partner of SU2C. C.S. also receives funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) Consolidator Grant (FP7-THESEUS-617844), European Commission ITN (FP7-PloidyNet 607722), an ERC Advanced Grant (PROTEUS) from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (835297) and Chromavision from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (665233). N.M. is a Sir Henry Dale Fellow, jointly funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Royal Society (Grant Number 211179/Z/18/Z), and also receives funding from Cancer Research UK, Rosetrees and the NIHR BRC at University College London Hospitals and the CRUK University College London Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre.

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Rosenthal, R., Swanton, C. & McGranahan, N. Understanding the impact of immune-mediated selection on lung cancer evolution. Br J Cancer (2021).

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