Chemotherapy weakly contributes to predicted neoantigen expression in ovarian cancer
AuthorO'Donnell, T; Christie, EL; Ahuja, A; Buros, J; Aksoy, BA; Bowtell, DDL; Snyder, A; Hammerbacher, J
Source TitleBMC Cancer
AffiliationSir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsO'Donnell, T., Christie, E. L., Ahuja, A., Buros, J., Aksoy, B. A., Bowtell, D. D. L., Snyder, A. & Hammerbacher, J. (2018). Chemotherapy weakly contributes to predicted neoantigen expression in ovarian cancer. BMC CANCER, 18 (1), https://doi.org/10.1186/s12885-017-3825-0.
Access StatusOpen Access
BACKGROUND: Patients with highly mutated tumors, such as melanoma or smoking-related lung cancer, have higher rates of response to immune checkpoint blockade therapy, perhaps due to increased neoantigen expression. Many chemotherapies including platinum compounds are known to be mutagenic, but the impact of standard treatment protocols on mutational burden and resulting neoantigen expression in most human cancers is unknown. METHODS: We sought to quantify the effect of chemotherapy treatment on computationally predicted neoantigen expression for high grade serous ovarian carcinoma patients enrolled in the Australian Ovarian Cancer Study. In this series, 35 of 114 samples were collected after exposure to chemotherapy; 14 are matched with an untreated sample from the same patient. Our approach integrates whole genome and RNA sequencing of bulk tumor samples with class I MHC binding prediction and mutational signatures extracted from studies of chemotherapy-exposed Caenorhabditis elegans and Gallus gallus cells. We additionally investigated the relationship between neoantigens, tumor infiltrating immune cells estimated from RNA-seq with CIBERSORT, and patient survival. RESULTS: Greater neoantigen burden and CD8+ T cell infiltration in primary, pre-treatment samples were independently associated with improved survival. Relapse samples collected after chemotherapy harbored a median of 78% more expressed neoantigens than untreated primary samples, a figure that combines the effects of chemotherapy and other processes operative during relapse. The contribution from chemotherapy-associated signatures was small, accounting for a mean of 5% (range 0-16) of the expressed neoantigen burden in relapse samples. In both treated and untreated samples, most neoantigens were attributed to COSMIC Signature (3), associated with BRCA disruption, Signature (1), associated with a slow mutagenic process active in healthy tissue, and Signature (8), of unknown etiology. CONCLUSION: Relapsed ovarian cancers harbor more predicted neoantigens than primary tumors, but the increase is due to pre-existing mutational processes, not mutagenesis from chemotherapy.
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