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Neoantigen-based cancer immunotherapy.
Annals of Translational Medicine
Emerging clinical evidence on the role of the antitumor activity of the immune system has generated great interest in immunotherapy in all cancer types. Recent clinical data clearly demonstrated that human tumor cells express antigenic peptides (epitopes) that can be recognized by autologous tumor-specific T cells and that enhancement of such immune reactivity can potentially lead to cancer control and cancer regression in patients with advanced disease. However, in most cases, it is unclear which tumor antigens (Ags) mediated cancer regression. Mounting evidence indicates that numerous endogenous mutated cancer proteins, a hallmark of tumor cells, can be processed into peptides and presented on the surface of tumor cells, leading to their immune recognition in vivo as "non-self" or foreign. Massively parallel sequencing has now overcome the challenge of rapidly identifying the comprehensive mutational spectrum of individual tumors (i.e., the "mutanome") and current technologies, as well as computational tools, have emerged that allow the identification of private epitopes derived from their mutanome and called neoantigens (neoAgs). On this basis, both CD4(+) and CD8(+) neoantigen-specific T cells have been identified in multiple human cancers and shown to be associated with a favorable clinical outcome. Notably, emerging data also indicate that neoantigen recognition represents a major factor in the activity of clinical immunotherapies. In the post-genome era, the mutanome holds promise as a long-awaited 'gold mine' for the discovery of unique cancer cell targets, which are exclusively tumor-specific and unlikely to drive immune tolerance, hence offering the chance for highly promising clinical programs of cancer immunotherapy.
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