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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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Isolation of T cell receptors specifically reactive with mutated tumor associated antigens

Background and hypotheses

The adoptive transfer of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) can mediate the regression of metastatic melanoma [1]. In addition, the adoptive transfer of lymphocytes expressing T cell receptors (TCRs) specifically reactive with antigens expressed on melanoma cells can mediate tumor regression [2]. Many T cells from TIL recognize mutated antigens expressed only on the autologous patient's tumor cells [3]. Therefore, we have attempted to isolate TCRs reactive with unique mutated antigens so that we may eventually treat patients with autologous T cells that have been genetically modified to express those TCRs.

Study design and methods

Exome sequencing and RNA sequencing were used to identify mutated antigens that are highly expressed in tumors. In this study, we used 2 methods to isolate TCRs reactive with mutated antigens as follows:

1. TIL were stimulated overnight with autologous dendritic cells (DCs) electroporated with in vitro transcribed RNAs encoding mutations. CD3+ CD8+ T cells that had upregulated CD137 after stimulation were then FACS sorted and expanded in vitro with anti-CD3 and IL2.

2. Peptides encompassing mutations with high predicted binding affinities to HLA-A*0201 were used to stimulate peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) from autologous patients expressing this HLA molecule. PBL were stimulated in vitro with peptide-pulsed autologous mature DCs and restimulated 7-10 days later with peptide-pulsed autologous PBMCs. T cells that upregulated CD137 after stimulation with 239 or COS cells expressing HLA-A*0201 and the mutation were then sorted and expanded in vitro with anti-CD3 and IL2. Recognition of appropriate target cells by the resulting T cell populations was evaluated on the basis of IFNγ secretion and CD137 expression. For populations which appeared to be enriched for T cells capable of recognizing mutated antigens, TCR α and β chain sequences were identified using 5' RACE, and retroviruses encoding those TCRs were used to transduce PBL.

Results and conclusions

Using these techniques, we identified, enriched, and expanded T cell populations that recognized mutated tumor associated antigens. We also identified dominant TCR α and β chains in these enriched populations. By using retroviruses encoding the dominant TCRs to transduce human PBL, we demonstrated that these TCRs mediated recognition of the expected tumor associated mutated antigens (Table 1). We are currently attempting to develop clinical reagents to treat patients with TCRs that recognize unique mutations on their autologous tumor cells.

Table 1 IFNγ secretion (pg/ml) by TCR transduced PBL


Written informed consent was obtained from the patient for publication of this abstract and any accompanying images. A copy of the written consent is available for review by the Editor of this journal.


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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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Parkhurst, M., Robbins, P. & Rosenberg, S. Isolation of T cell receptors specifically reactive with mutated tumor associated antigens. j. immunotherapy cancer 2 (Suppl 3), P33 (2014).

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