Kantonsspital St.Gallen

Tumour neoantigen mimicry by microbial species in cancer immunotherapy

Maximilian Bösch, Florent Baty, Sacha I Rothschild, Michael Tamm, Markus Joerger, Martin Früh & Martin Brutsche

abstract Tumour neoantigens arising from cancer-specific mutations generate a molecular fingerprint that has a definite specificity for cancer. Although this fingerprint perfectly discriminates cancer from healthy somatic and germline cells, and is therefore therapeutically exploitable using immune checkpoint blockade, gut and extra-gut microbial species can independently produce epitopes that resemble tumour neoantigens as part of their natural gene expression programmes. Such tumour molecular mimicry is likely not only to influence the quality and strength of the body's anti-cancer immune response, but could also explain why certain patients show favourable long-term responses to immune checkpoint blockade while others do not benefit at all from this treatment. This article outlines the requirement for tumour neoantigens in successful cancer immunotherapy and draws attention to the emerging role of microbiome-mediated tumour neoantigen mimicry in determining checkpoint immunotherapy outcome, with far-reaching implications for the future of cancer immunotherapy.
citation Bösch M, Baty F, Rothschild S I, Tamm M, Joerger M, Früh M, Brutsche M. Tumour neoantigen mimicry by microbial species in cancer immunotherapy. Br J Cancer 2021; 125:313-323.
type journal paper/review (English)
date of publishing 06-04-2021
journal title Br J Cancer (125/3)
ISSN electronic 1532-1827
pages 313-323
PubMed 33824481
DOI 10.1038/s41416-021-01365-2