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2072 T-Cell Receptor-Engineered T Cells Targeting FLT3-D835 Mutation-Derived Neoantigens in Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 703. Cellular Immunotherapies: Basic and Translational: Poster I
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Research, Acute Myeloid Malignancies, AML, Biological therapies, Translational Research, Diseases, Therapies, Immunotherapy, Myeloid Malignancies
Saturday, December 9, 2023, 5:30 PM-7:30 PM

Weijun Zhou1*, Jinyi Yu2*, Fuyu Li3* and Kankan Wang, MD, PhD4*

1Hematology, Zhujiang Hospital of Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China
2Ruijin Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, CHN
3Ruijin Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
4Shanghai Institute of Hematology, State Key Laboratory of Medical Genomics, National Research Center for Translational Medicine at Shanghai, Ruijin Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China

The adoptive transfer of T-cell receptor (TCR)-engineered T cells has demonstrated a remarkable anti-leukemic potential in mice models and human research for acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Neoantigens arising from somatic mutations are ideal targets for immunotherapy due to their high immunogenicity and harmless to normal cells. Therefore, neoantigen-specific TCR-based immunotherapy may have great prospects for AML.

Activating mutations in FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) represent the most frequent genomic alterations of AML, including internal tandem duplication (ITD) in the juxtamembrane domain and point mutations within the tyrosine kinase domain, mostly at the activation loop residue D835. A number of FLT3 inhibitors have been clinically employed for FLT3-mutated AML. However, a durable response is limited by resistance-conferring secondary kinase domain mutations, notably point mutations at D835. Therefore, there is a critical need for novel and potent treatments to eliminate AML cells harboring FLT3-D835 mutations. Here, we show the construction of TCR-engineered T cells targeting FLT3-D835 mutants, presented in the context of HLA-A*02:01. We first identified neoepitopes derived from D835Y/H/V/F/I with strong affinities to HLA-A*02:01 using NetMHCpan 4.1. These neoepitopes could form the stable complex with HLA-A*02:01 on the cell surface. Furthermore, CD8+ T cells specific for D835H were detected in the peripheral blood of AML patients carrying D835H mutant at different stages of the illness, most of which were memory T cells. Moreover, one neoepitope (Neo-D835H) induced IFN-γ secretion when co-cultured with peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) isolated from AML patients with D835H mutant. Neo-D835H-specific T cells were effectively generated through the rapid stimulation of CD8+ T cells isolated from an HLA-A*02:01-positive healthy donor with Neo-D835H-loaded autologous dendritic cells. These T cells were recognized by Neo-D835H-HLA-A2-Tetramer (0.37%) and consequently isolated by flow cytometry to perform TCRα and TCRβ sequencing. Both the TCRA and TCRB clonotypes showed dominant sequences that accounted for more than 50% of the total, suggesting that T cells with these dominant TCRA and TCRB-paired sequences were likely Neo-D835H-specific. We thus next generated TCR-engineered T cells with these TCRA- and TCRB-paired sequences for further functional analysis. These TCR-engineered T cells recognized Neo-D835H and showed cytotoxic activity against Neo-D835H-pulsed T2 cells in an antigen dose-dependent manner, while showed no responses to the T2 cells pulsed with the corresponding wild-type peptide.

Taken together, we present novel neoantigens with promise as immunotherapy targets for AML and other hematologic malignancies with FLT3-D835 mutations. Future studies will evaluate the efficacy of Neo-D835H-specific TCR-engineered T-cell-based immunotherapy in vivo in patient-derived xenograft murine model and TCR-based therapeutic approaches targeting other FLT3-TKD mutations.

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

*signifies non-member of ASH