Arbelaez et al. identified immunogenic synthetic long neoantigen peptides (SLP), which, when given with CpG to wild type mice, activated CD4+ T cells and slowed syngeneic neoantigen+ tumor growth. Complexing SLP with CpG-containing cationic liposomes (LPX) improved uptake by CD11b+ macrophages, CD11b+ DCs, and CD11c+ cDCs in lymphoid organs, enabled recognition of a larger SLP set, upregulated MHC I and II and PD-L1 expression by tumor cells, and stimulated both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. SLP-LPX led to increased tumor infiltration, reduced tumor burden via CD8+ T cells, and potent inhibition of established tumor growth with anti-PD-1.
Contributed by Paula Hochman
ABSTRACT: Cancer vaccines using synthetic long peptides (SLP) targeting tumor antigens have been tested in the clinic but the outcomes have been unimpressive, perhaps because these peptides elicit predominantly CD4(+) T cell responses. We hypothesized that enhanced delivery of peptide antigens to, and uptake in, secondary lymphoid tissues should elicit more robust CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cell responses and improved anti-tumor responses. Here, we have designed SLP-containing cationic lipoplexes (SLP-Lpx) that improve delivery of peptides to myeloid cells in the spleen and lymphatics. Using the G12D KRAS mutations as neoantigens, we found that vaccination of mice with naked synthetic peptides harboring the G12D mutation with CpG adjuvant stimulated mainly CD4(+) T cell responses with limited tumor growth inhibition. On the other hand, immunization with SLP-Lpx stimulated both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells and suppressed tumor growth in a CD8(+) T cell-dependent manner. Combination of the SLP-Lpx vaccines with a checkpoint inhibitor led to profound growth suppression of established tumors. These studies suggest that preferential targeting of peptides derived from neoantigens to the spleen via lipoplexes elicits potent CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses that inhibit tumor growth.