The clinical relevance of T cells in the control of a diverse set of human cancers is now beyond doubt. However, the nature of the antigens that allow the immune system to distinguish cancer cells from noncancer cells has long remained obscure. Recent technological innovations have made it possible to dissect the immune response to patient-specific neoantigens that arise as a consequence of tumor-specific mutations, and emerging data suggest that recognition of such neoantigens is a major factor in the activity of clinical immunotherapies. These observations indicate that neoantigen load may form a biomarker in cancer immunotherapy and provide an incentive for the development of novel therapeutic approaches that selectively enhance T cell reactivity against this class of antigens.
Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.