Multiple myeloma (MM) is a hematological cancer for which immune-based treatments are currently in development. Many of these rely on the identification of highly disease-specific, strongly and stably expressed antigens. Here, we profiled the myeloma B-cell immunome both to explore its predictive role in the context of autologous and allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) and to identify novel immunotherapeutic targets. We used random peptide phage display, reverse immunization, and next-generation sequencing-assisted antibody phage display to establish a highly myeloma-specific epitope fingerprint targeted by B-cell responses of 18 patients in clinical remission. We found that allogeneic HSCT more efficiently allowed production of myeloma-specific antibodies compared with autologous HSCT and that a highly reactive epitope recognition signature correlated with superior response to treatment. Next, we performed myeloma cell surface screenings of phage-displayed patient transplant immunomes. Although some of the screenings yielded clear-cut surface binders, the majority of screenings did not, suggesting that many of the targeted antigens may in fact not be accessible to the B-cell immune system in untreated myeloma cells. This fit well with the identification of heat-shock proteins as a class of antigens that showed overall the broadest reactivity with myeloma patient sera after allogeneic HSCT and that may be significantly translocated to the cell surface upon treatment as a result of immunogenic cell death. Our data reveal a disease-specific epitope signature of MM that is predictive for response to treatment. Mining of transplant immunomes for strong myeloma surface binders may open up avenues for myeloma immunotherapy.
© 2016 by The American Society of Hematology.