Conference Coverage

Preclinical findings highlight value of Lynch syndrome for cancer vaccine development



– Lynch syndrome serves as an excellent platform for the development of immunoprevention cancer vaccines, and findings from a preclinical Lynch syndrome mouse model support ongoing research, according to Steven M. Lipkin, MD, PhD.

A novel vaccine, which included peptides encoding four intestinal cancer frameshift peptide (FSP) neoantigens derived from coding microsatellite (cMS) mutations in the genes Nacad, Maz, Xirp1, and Senp6 elicited strong antigen-specific cellular immune responses in the model, Dr. Lipkin, the Gladys and Roland Harriman Professor of Medicine and vice chair for research in the Sanford and Joan Weill Department of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, reported at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

CD4-specific T cell responses were detected for Maz, Nacad, and Senp6, and CD8-positive T cells were detected for Xirp1 and Nacad, he noted, explaining that the findings come in the wake of a recently completed clinical phase 1/2a trial that successfully demonstrated safety and immunogenicity of an FSP neoantigen-based vaccine in microsatellite unstable (MSI) colorectal cancer patients.

The current effort to further develop a cancer preventive vaccine against MSI cancers in Lynch syndrome using a preclinical mouse model involved a systematic database search to identify cMS sequences in the murine genome. Intestinal tumors obtained from Lynch syndrome mice were evaluated for mutations affecting these candidate cMS, and of 13 with a mutation frequency of 15% or higher, the 4 FSP neoantigens ultimately included in the vaccine elicited strong antigen-specific cellular immune responses.

Vaccination with peptides encoding these four intestinal cancer FSP neoantigens promoted antineoantigen immunity, reduced intestinal tumorigenicity, and prolonged overall survival, Dr. Lipkin said.

Further, based on preclinical data suggesting that naproxen in this setting might provide better risk-reducing effects, compared with aspirin (which has previously been shown to reduce colorectal cancer risk in Lynch syndrome patients), its addition to the vaccine did, indeed, improve response, he noted, explaining that naproxen worked as “sort of a super-aspirin,” that improved overall survival, compared with vaccine alone or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents alone.

In a video interview, Dr. Lipkin describes his research and its potential implications for the immunoprevention of Lynch syndrome and other cancers.

Vaccination with as few as four mutations that occur across Lynch syndrome tumors induced complete cures in some mice and delays in disease onset in others, he said.

“[This is] a very simple approach, very effective,” he added, noting that the T cells are now being studied to better understand the biology of the effects. “The idea of immunoprevention ... is actually very exciting and ... can be expanded beyond this.”

Lynch syndrome is a “great place to start,” because of the high rate of mutations, which are the most immunogenic types of mutations, he said.

“If we can get this basic paradigm to work, I think we can expand it to other types of mutations – for example, KRAS or BRAF, which are seen frequently in lung cancers, colon cancers, stomach cancers, pancreatic cancers, and others,” he said, noting that a proposal for a phase 1 clinical trial has been submitted.

Recommended Reading

Cirrhosis study finds no link between screening, liver cancer mortality
Obesity, weight gain linked to colorectal cancer risk in younger women
Negative colonoscopy linked with lower risk for more than 10 years
Poor-prognosis cancers linked to highest suicide risk in first year
ASCO issues guideline for early detection, management of colorectal cancer
Endoscopic full-thickness resection shows promise in CRC
For patients with HBV, daily aspirin may reduce risk of liver cancer
Proinflammatory microbiome tied to colorectal adenoma
Study eyes biomarkers of regorafenib response in hepatocellular carcinoma
Novel chemo/PARP inhibitor strategy promising for advanced pancreatic cancer