Mutation-associated neoantigens (MANA) are a target of antitumor T-cell immunity. Sensitive, simple, and standardized assays are needed to assess the repertoire of functional MANA-specific T cells in oncology. Assays analyzing in vitro cytokine production such as ELISpot and intracellular cytokine staining have been useful but have limited sensitivity in assessing tumor-specific T-cell responses and do not analyze antigen-specific T-cell repertoires. The FEST (Functional Expansion of Specific T cells) assay described herein integrates T-cell receptor sequencing of short-term, peptide-stimulated cultures with a bioinformatic platform to identify antigen-specific clonotypic amplifications. This assay can be adapted for all types of antigens, including MANAs via tumor exome-guided prediction of MANAs. Following in vitro identification by the MANAFEST assay, the MANA-specific CDR3 sequence can be used as a molecular barcode to detect and monitor the dynamics of these clonotypes in blood, tumor, and normal tissue of patients receiving immunotherapy. MANAFEST is compatible with high-throughput routine clinical and lab practices. Cancer Immunol Res; 6(8); 888-99. ©2018 AACR.
©2018 American Association for Cancer Research.