Tumor antigen discovery through translation of the cancer genome
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- Khodadoust, M.S. & Alizadeh, A.A. Immunol Res (2014) 58: 292. doi:10.1007/s12026-014-8505-4
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Cancer cells harbor unique mutations that theoretically create corresponding unique tumor-specific antigens. This class of mutated antigens represents an attractive target for cancer immunotherapy, but their identification has been cumbersome. By combining cancer genome sequencing with computational analysis of MHC binding, it is possible to predict and rank all of the possible mutated tumor antigens. This form of antigen screen is being combined with high throughput methods to measure the immune response to each candidate mutated antigen. Using these techniques, it is possible to systematically test each mutated tumor antigens for an associated immune response. Only a small fraction of the putative mutated antigens tested in this manner have been found to elicit an immune response, yet these responses appear to be both robust and durable. It is becoming increasingly clear that these mutated tumor antigens are an important target in the antitumor response. Studies incorporating this approach promise to improve our understanding of the inherent immunogenicity of individual cancers, potentially providing an explanation for the varying clinical responses to novel immunotherapeutic agents.