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Volume 2 Supplement 3

Abstracts of the 29th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC)

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Matched T cell repertoire analysis of peripheral blood and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in early stage breast cancer (ESBC) patients (pts) treated with pre-operative cryoablation (cryo) and/or Ipilimumab (Ipi)


Cryo plus anti-CTLA-4 therapy induces antigen-specific clonal T cell expansion, enhanced survival, and long-term anti-tumor immunity in mice [1]. We recently demonstrated that pre-operative cryo and/or anti-CTLA-4 therapy with Ipi is well tolerated and clinically feasible in women with ESBC. Furthermore, cryo with or without Ipi generates a polyclonal influx of novel T cell clones within the tumor bed [2, 3]. Here, we utilize T cell repertoire analysis to explore the impact of cryo and/or Ipi on clonal expansion within peripheral blood and TILs.


In a pilot study, women with ESBC were treated with cryo 7-10d before mastectomy (6 pts), single-dose Ipi (10 mg/kg) 8-15d before mastectomy (6 pts), or cryo+Ipi (6 pts). Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and tumor tissue were obtained pre-mastectomy (immediately preceding cryo and/or 1-5d after Ipi), and at mastectomy. T cell repertoire analysis was conducted on extracted DNA using an Illumina® DNA deep sequencing platform and ImmunoSEQ™ software. Clones comprising ≥0.01% of sample DNA were analyzed, and results are reported descriptively.


Cryo with or without Ipi was associated with decreases in absolute TIL count (median change: Ipi +6%, cryo -73%, cryo+Ipi -16%). However, cryo+Ipi was associated with the greatest expansion of TIL clones across the range of 102-104 amplicons (table 1), although no difference was observed by group in PBMC clones. Across all samples, a median of 523 TIL clones increased by ≥102 amplicons, and a median of 4 TIL clones increased by ≥103 amplicons. The Ipi/cryo group exceeded the median in 80% (4/5) of cases. 21% of all TIL clones were detectable in time-matched PBMC, whereas 16% of expanding (≥102) TIL clones were detectable in time-matched PBMC.

Table 1 Therapy-associated T cell clonal expansion in TILs and PBMCs.


Cryo plus Ipi expands more TIL clones than either strategy alone. Therapy-associated clonal expansion may be difficult to detect in PBMCs. These data highlight the potential importance of TIL repertoire analysis for the monitoring of pts treated with cryo and/or Ipi in the preoperative setting. In a follow-up randomized study, we will evaluate whether TIL clonal expansion across the 102-104 range can be used to predict recurrence-free survival.


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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Page, D.B., McArthur, H., Dong, Z. et al. Matched T cell repertoire analysis of peripheral blood and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in early stage breast cancer (ESBC) patients (pts) treated with pre-operative cryoablation (cryo) and/or Ipilimumab (Ipi). j. immunotherapy cancer 2 (Suppl 3), P138 (2014).

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