Detection of tumor antigens and tumor-antigen specific T cells in NSCLC patients: Correlation of the quality of T cell responses with NSCLC subtype.

January 10, 2020
Source: Immunol Lett. 2020 Mar;219:46-53. doi: 10.1016/j.imlet.2020.01.001. Epub 2020 Jan 10.

Authors: O. Palata, N. Podzimkova Hradilova, D. Mysiková, B. Kutna, H. Mrazkova, R. Lischke, R. Spisek, I. Adkins.

Allogeneic cancer cell lines serve as universal source of tumor-associated antigens in cancer vaccines. Immunogenic high hydrostatic pressure-killed cancer cells derived from cell lines can be used for the generation of dendritic cell (DC)-based active cellular immunotherapy of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We investigated the expression of 12 known NSCLC tumor-associated antigens (TAA) (CEA, MAGE-A1, MAGE-A3, MAGE-A4, PRAME, hTERT, HER2, MUC1, Survivin, STEAP1, SOX2 and NY-ESO-1) in 6 NSCLC cell lines as candidates for the generation of DC-based lung cancer vaccine. We showed that the selected antigenic profile of these cell lines overlaps to various degrees with that of primary NSCLC tumors (n = 52), indicating that 4 out of 6 NSCLC cell lines would be suitable for DC-based vaccine generation. We further investigated the presence of TAA-specific T cells in blood of NSCLC patients (n = 32) using commercially available peptide mixes in an in vitro stimulation assay. IFN-γ+CD8+ and IFN-γ+CD4+ T cell responses to all antigens were detected in NSCLC patients. Interestingly, despite higher TAA expression in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) the responsiveness of patients' T cells to stimulation was significantly lower in SCC patients than in adenocarcinoma (AC) patients. This suggests qualitative differences in T cell functionality between NSCLC subtypes. Based on this study, and in order to maximize the amount of treatable patients, we selected a mix of H520 and H522 NSCLC cell lines for DC-based vaccine preparation. We also established a minimal panel of antigenic peptide mixes (CEA, hTERT, PRAME, HER2) for immunomonitoring of T cell responses during the DC-based lung cancer immunotherapy in Phase I lung cancer clinical trial (NCT02470468).