Targeting cancer-specific mutations by T cell receptor gene therapy


  • T. Blankenstein
  • M. Leisegang
  • W. Uckert
  • H. Schreiber


  • Current Opinion in Immunology


  • Curr Opin Immunol 33: 112-119


  • The ease of sequencing the cancer genome, identifying all somatic mutations and grafting mutation-specific T cell receptor (TCR) genes into T cells for adoptive transfer allow, for the first time, a truly tumor-specific and effective therapy. Mutation-specific TCR gene therapy might achieve optimal efficacy with least possible toxicity. Recent clinical data confirm the long-standing evidence from experimental cancer models that antigens encoded by the tumor-specific somatic mutations are potentially the best targets for adoptive T cell therapy. Open questions are, how many somatic mutations create suitable epitopes, whether only individual-specific or also recurrent somatic mutations qualify as suitable epitopes and how neoantigen-specific TCRs are most efficiently obtained. Tumor heterogeneity needs to be considered; therefore, it will be important to identify immunogenic driver mutations that occurred early, are essential for cancer cell survival and present in all cancer cells.