Neoantigens in immunotherapy and personalized vaccines: Implications for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Oral Oncol. 2017 Aug:71:169-176. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2016.09.010. Epub 2016 Oct 14.


The recent success of immunotherapies has demonstrated the potency of tumor-specific immune cells in mediating tumor rejection and generating durable tumor immunity. Our understanding of the scientific basis of these responses results from the confluence of a better comprehension of the cancer immunoediting process and the revolution in next generation sequencing of cancer genomes. Recent evidence suggests that T cell specificity for cancer cell expressed mutant proteins - termed neoantigens - is an important component of immune mediated tumor rejection. Improved neoantigen prediction algorithms have made it possible to predict and monitor immune responses to checkpoint inhibitors and adoptively transferred autologous lymphocytes and have enabled the development of tumor-specific therapeutic vaccines. Herein, we review the current research on cancer neoantigens in immunotherapies and its implications for the future of head and neck cancer management.

Keywords: Immunogenomics; Neoepitope; Next generation sequencing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology*
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / immunology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / immunology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Precision Medicine*
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cancer Vaccines