BACKGROUND Therapeutic vaccinations against cancer have mainly targeted differentiation antigens, cancer-testis antigens, and overexpressed antigens and have thus far resulted in little clinical benefit. Studies conducted by multiple groups have demonstrated that T cells recognizing neoantigens are present in most cancers and offer a specific and highly immunogenic target for personalized vaccination.METHODS We recently developed a process using tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes to identify the specific immunogenic mutations expressed in patients’ tumors. Here, validated, defined neoantigens, predicted neoepitopes, and mutations of driver genes were concatenated into a single mRNA construct to vaccinate patients with metastatic gastrointestinal cancer.RESULTS The vaccine was safe and elicited mutation-specific T cell responses against predicted neoepitopes not detected before vaccination. Furthermore, we were able to isolate and verify T cell receptors targeting KRASG12D mutation. We observed no objective clinical responses in the 4 patients treated in this trial.CONCLUSION This vaccine was safe, and potential future combination of such vaccines with checkpoint inhibitors or adoptive T cell therapy should be evaluated for possible clinical benefit in patients with common epithelial cancers.TRIAL REGISTRATION Phase I/II protocol (NCT03480152) was approved by the IRB committee of the NIH and the FDA.FUNDING Center for Clinical Research, NCI, NIH.
Gal Cafri, Jared J. Gartner, Tal Zaks, Kristen Hopson, Noam Levin, Biman C. Paria, Maria R. Parkhurst, Rami Yossef, Frank J. Lowery, Mohammad S. Jafferji, Todd D. Prickett, Stephanie L. Goff, Christine T. McGowan, Samantha Seitter, Mackenzie L. Shindorf, Anup Parikh, Praveen D. Chatani, Paul F. Robbins, Steven A. Rosenberg
CONSORT diagram of the clinical study.