Persistence of Multiple Tumor-Specific T-Cell Clones Is Associated with Complete Tumor Regression in a Melanoma Patient Receiving Adoptive Cell Transfer Therapy

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Abstract

Summary

The authors recently reported that adoptive immunotherapy with autologous tumor-reactive tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) immediately following a conditioning nonmyeloablative chemotherapy regimen resulted in an enhanced clinical response rate in patients with metastatic melanoma. These observations led to the current studies, which are focused on a detailed analysis of the T-cell antigen reactivity as well as the in vivo persistence of T cells in melanoma patient 2098, who experienced a complete regression of all metastatic lesions in lungs and soft tissues following therapy. Screening of an autologous tumor cell cDNA library using transferred TILs resulted in the identification of novel mutated growth arrest-specific gene 7 (GAS7) and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) gene transcripts. Direct sequence analysis of the expressed T-cell receptor beta chain variable regions showed that the transferred TILs contained multiple T-cell clonotypes, at least six of which persisted in peripheral blood for a month or more following transfer. The persistent T cells recognized both the mutated GAS7 and GAPDH. These persistent tumor-reactive T-cell clones were detected in tumor cell samples obtained from the patient following adoptive cell transfer and appeared to be represented at higher levels in the tumor sample obtained 1 month following transfer than in the peripheral blood obtained at the same time. Overall, these results indicate that multiple tumor-reactive T cells can persist in the peripheral blood and at the tumor site for prolonged times following adoptive transfer and thus may be responsible for the complete tumor regression in this patient.

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