Neoantigens, which are derived from tumour-specific protein-coding mutations, are exempt from central tolerance, can generate robust immune responses1,2 and can function as bona fide antigens that facilitate tumour rejection3. Here we demonstrate that a strategy that uses multi-epitope, personalized neoantigen vaccination, which has previously been tested in patients with high-risk melanoma4,5,6, is feasible for tumours such as glioblastoma, which typically have a relatively low mutation load1,7 and an immunologically ‘cold’ tumour microenvironment8. We used personalized neoantigen-targeting vaccines to immunize patients newly diagnosed with glioblastoma following surgical resection and conventional radiotherapy in a phase I/Ib study. Patients who did not receive dexamethasone—a highly potent corticosteroid that is frequently prescribed to treat cerebral oedema in patients with glioblastoma—generated circulating polyfunctional neoantigen-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses that were enriched in a memory phenotype and showed an increase in the number of tumour-infiltrating T cells. Using single-cell T cell receptor analysis, we provide evidence that neoantigen-specific T cells from the peripheral blood can migrate into an intracranial glioblastoma tumour. Neoantigen-targeting vaccines thus have the potential to favourably alter the immune milieu of glioblastoma.
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We thank the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation, the Blavatnik Family Foundation and the Mathers Foundation for supporting this research. We acknowledge support from the Broad Institute SPARC program and National Institutes of Health (NCI-1RO1CA155010-02 (to C.J.W.)), NHLBI-5R01HL103532-03 (to C.J.W.), Francis and Adele Kittredge Family Immuno-Oncology and Melanoma Research Fund (to P.A.O.), Faircloth Family Research Fund (to P.A.O.), NIH/NCI R21 CA216772-01A1 (to D.B.K.), NCI-SPORE-2P50CA101942-11A1 (to D.B.K.); NHLBI-T32HL007627 (to J.B.I.); NCI (R50CA211482) (to S.A.S.), Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program (to I.T.); Benoziyo Endowment Fund for the Advancement of Science (to I.T.); P50 CA165962 (SPORE) and P01 CA163205 (to K.L.L.); DFCI Center for Cancer Immunotherapy Research fellowship (to Z.H.); Howard Hughes Medical Institute Medical Research Fellows Program (to A.J.A.); and American Cancer Society PF-17-042-01–LIB (to N.D.M.). C.J.W. is a scholar of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We thank the Center for Neuro-Oncology, J. Russell and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) Center for Immuno-Oncology (CIO) staff; B. Meyers, C. Harvey and S. Bartel (Clinical Pharmacy); M. Severgnini, K. Kleinsteuber and E. McWilliams, (CIO laboratory); M. Copersino (Regulatory Affairs); T. Bowman (DFHCC Specialized Histopathology Core Laboratory); A. Lako (CIO); M. Seaman and D. H. Barouch (BIDMC); the Broad Institute’s Biological Samples, Genetic Analysis and Genome Sequencing Platforms; J. Petricciani and M. Krane for regulatory advice; B. McDonough (CSBio), I. Javeri and K. Nellaiappan (CuriRx) for peptide development.
Nature thanks M. Lim and the other anonymous reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
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Nature Reviews Neurology (2019)