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Identification of novel HLA-restricted preferentially expressed antigen in melanoma peptides to facilitate off-the-shelf tumor-associated antigen-specific T-cell therapies

Published:April 05, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcyt.2021.03.001

      Abstract

      Background aims

      Preferentially expressed antigen in melanoma (PRAME) is a cancer/testis antigen that is overexpressed in many human malignancies and poorly expressed or absent in healthy tissues, making it a good target for anti-cancer immunotherapy. Development of an effective off-the-shelf adoptive T-cell therapy for patients with relapsed or refractory solid tumors and hematological malignancies expressing PRAME antigen requires the identification of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and II PRAME antigens recognized by the tumor-associated antigen (TAA) T-cell product. The authors therefore set out to extend the repertoire of HLA-restricted PRAME peptide epitopes beyond the few already characterized.

      Methods

      Peptide libraries of 125 overlapping 15-mer peptides spanning the entire PRAME protein sequence were used to identify HLA class I- and II-restricted epitopes. The authors also determined the HLA restriction of the identified epitopes.

      Results

      PRAME-specific T-cell products were successfully generated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 12 healthy donors. Ex vivo-expanded T cells were polyclonal, consisting of both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, which elicited anti-tumor activity in vitro. Nine MHC class I-restricted PRAME epitopes were identified (seven novel and two previously described). The authors also characterized 16 individual 15-mer peptide sequences confirmed as CD4-restricted epitopes.

      Conclusions

      TAA T cells derived from healthy donors recognize a broad range of CD4+ and CD8+ HLA-restricted PRAME epitopes, which could be used to select suitable donors for generating off-the-shelf TAA-specific T cells.

      Key Words

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