Endogenous CD4 T Cells Recognize Neoantigens in Lung Cancer Patients, Including Recurrent Oncogenic and () Driver Mutations.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Cancer immunology research, Volume 7, Issue 6, p.910-922 (2019)


Bioinformatics Core Facility


T cells specific for neoantigens encoded by mutated genes in cancers are increasingly recognized as mediators of tumor destruction after immune-checkpoint inhibitor therapy or adoptive cell transfer. Much of the focus has been on identifying epitopes presented to CD8 T cells by class I MHC. However, CD4 class II MHC-restricted T cells have been shown to have an important role in antitumor immunity. Unfortunately, the vast majority of neoantigens recognized by CD8 or CD4 T cells in cancer patients result from random mutations and are patient-specific. Here, we screened the blood of 5 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients for T-cell responses to candidate mutation-encoded neoepitopes. T-cell responses were detected to 8.8% of screened antigens, with 1 to 7 antigens identified per patient. A majority of responses were to random, patient-specific mutations. However, CD4 T cells that recognized the recurrent and the () internal tandem duplication (ITD) oncogenic driver mutations, but not the corresponding wild-type sequences, were identified in two patients. Two different T-cell receptors (TCR) specific for and one T-cell receptor specific for -ITD were isolated and conferred antigen specificity when transfected into T cells. Deep sequencing identified the -ITD-specific TCR in the tumor but not nonadjacent lung. Our results showed that CD4 T-cell responses to neoantigens, including recurrent driver mutations, can be derived from the blood of NSCLC patients. These data support the use of adoptive transfer or vaccination to augment CD4 neoantigen-specific T cells and elucidate their role in human antitumor immunity.