Treatment of an aggressive orthotopic murine glioblastoma model with combination checkpoint blockade and a multivalent neoantigen vaccine

Connor J Liu, Maximilian Schaettler, Dylan T Blaha, Jay A Bowman-Kirigin, Dale K Kobayashi, Alexandra J Livingstone, Diane Bender, Christopher A Miller, David M Kranz, Tanner M Johanns, Gavin P Dunn. Neuro-oncology, Volume 22, Issue 9, 29 September 2020, Pages 1276-1288 Read More


BACKGROUND: Although clinical trials testing immunotherapies in glioblastoma (GBM) have yielded mixed results, new strategies targeting tumor-specific somatic coding mutations, termed “neoantigens,” represent promising therapeutic approaches. We characterized the microenvironment and neoantigen landscape of the aggressive CT2A GBM model in order to develop a platform to test combination checkpoint blockade and neoantigen vaccination. METHODS: Flow cytometric analysis was performed on intracranial CT2A and GL261 tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs). Whole-exome DNA and RNA sequencing of the CT2A murine GBM was employed to identify expressed, somatic mutations. Predicted neoantigens were identified using the pVAC-seq software suite, and top-ranking candidates were screened for reactivity by interferon-gamma enzyme linked immunospot assays. Survival analysis was performed comparing neoantigen vaccination, anti-programmed cell death ligand 1 (αPD-L1), or combination therapy. RESULTS: Compared with the GL261 model, CT2A exhibited immunologic features consistent with human GBM including reduced αPD-L1 sensitivity and hypofunctional TILs. Of the 29 CT2A neoantigens screened, we identified neoantigen-specific CD8+ T-cell responses in the intracranial TIL and draining lymph nodes to two H2-Kb restricted (Epb4H471L and Pomgnt1R497L) and one H2-Db restricted neoantigen (Plin2G332R). Survival analysis showed that therapeutic neoantigen vaccination with Epb4H471L, Pomgnt1R497L, and Plin2G332R, in combination with αPD-L1 treatment was superior to αPD-L1 alone. CONCLUSIONS: We identified endogenous neoantigen specific CD8+ T cells within an αPD-L1 resistant murine GBM and show that neoantigen vaccination significantly augments survival benefit in combination with αPD-L1 treatment. These observations provide important preclinical correlates for GBM immunotherapy trials and support further investigation into the effects of multimodal immunotherapeutic interventions on antiglioma immunity. KEY POINTS: 1. Neoantigen vaccines combined with checkpoint blockade may be promising treatments.2. CT2A tumors exhibit features of human GBM microenvironments.3. Differential scanning fluorimetry assays may complement in silico neoantigen prediction tools. © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Neuro-Oncology. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:

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Posted on October 22, 2020
Posted in: Neurogenetics & Transcriptomics, NeuroRestorative Therapy, Publications Authors: