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Proteogenomics Uncovers a Vast Repertoire of Shared Tumor-Specific Antigens in Ovarian Cancer.

Zhao Q, Laverdure JP, Lanoix J, Durette C, Côté C, Bonneil E, Laumont CM, Gendron P, Vincent K, Courcelles M, Lemieux S, Millar DG, Ohashi PS, Thibault P, Perreault C

Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

High-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSC), the principal cause of death from gynecologic malignancies in the world, has not significantly benefited from advances in cancer immunotherapy. Although HGSC infiltration by lymphocytes correlates with superior survival, the nature of antigens that can elicit anti-HGSC immune responses is unknown. The goal of this study was to establish the global landscape of HGSC tumor-specific antigens (TSA) using a mass spectrometry pipeline that interrogated all reading frames of all genomic regions. In 23 HGSC tumors, we identified 103 TSAs. Classic TSA discovery approaches focusing only on mutated exonic sequences would have uncovered only three of these TSAs. Other mutated TSAs resulted from out-of-frame exonic translation (n = 2) or from noncoding sequences (n = 7). One group of TSAs (n = 91) derived from aberrantly expressed unmutated genomic sequences, which were not expressed in normal tissues. These aberrantly expressed TSAs (aeTSA) originated primarily from nonexonic sequences, in particular intronic (29%) and intergenic (22%) sequences. Their expression was regulated at the transcriptional level by variations in gene copy number and DNA methylation. Although mutated TSAs were unique to individual tumors, aeTSAs were shared by a large proportion of HGSCs. Taking into account the frequency of aeTSA expression and HLA allele frequencies, we calculated that, in Caucasians, the median number of aeTSAs per tumor would be five. We conclude that, in view of their number and the fact that they are shared by many tumors, aeTSAs may be the most attractive targets for HGSC immunotherapy.

Cancer Immunol Res 2020;8(4):544-555.

Pubmed ID: 32047025

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