Kim et al. identified 39 T cell receptors (TCRs) specific for recurrent mutant p53 proteins in patients with solid tumors. In vitro and in vivo studies showed that these TCRs recognized tumor cells in a TP53 mutation- and HLA-specific manner and demonstrated antitumor activity. In 12 treated patients, ex vivo-expanded autologous TILs containing T cells reactive against TP53 neoantigens showed exhausted phenotypes and poor persistence. A patient with chemorefractory breast cancer treated with TCR-engineered PBL exhibited an improved immunophenotype, prolonged persistence, and an objective tumor regression (-55%) that lasted 6 months.
Contributed by Shishir Pant
ABSTRACT: Adoptive cellular therapy (ACT) targeting neoantigens can achieve durable clinical responses in patients with cancer. Most neoantigens arise from patient-specific mutations, requiring highly individualized treatments. To broaden the applicability of ACT targeting neoantigens, we focused on TP53 mutations commonly shared across different cancer types. We performed whole-exome sequencing on 163 patients with metastatic solid cancers, identified 78 who had TP53 missense mutations, and through immunologic screening, identified 21 unique T-cell reactivities. Here, we report a library of 39 T-cell receptors (TCR) targeting TP53 mutations shared among 7.3% of patients with solid tumors. These TCRs recognized tumor cells in a TP53 mutation- and human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-specific manner in vitro and in vivo. Twelve patients with chemorefractory epithelial cancers were treated with ex vivo-expanded autologous tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) that were naturally reactive against TP53 mutations. However, limited clinical responses (2 partial responses among 12 patients) were seen. These infusions contained low frequencies of mutant p53-reactive TILs that had exhausted phenotypes and showed poor persistence. We also treated one patient who had chemorefractory breast cancer with ACT comprising autologous peripheral blood lymphocytes transduced with an allogeneic HLA-A*02-restricted TCR specific for p53R175H. The infused cells exhibited an improved immunophenotype and prolonged persistence compared with TIL ACT and the patient experienced an objective tumor regression (-55%) that lasted 6 months. Collectively, these proof-of-concept data suggest that the library of TCRs targeting shared p53 neoantigens should be further evaluated for the treatment of patients with advanced human cancers. See related Spotlight by Klebanoff .