Identification of immunogenic cancer neoantigens as targets for therapy is challenging. Here, we integrate the whole-genome and long-read transcript sequencing of cancers to identify the collection of neo-open reading frame peptides (NOP) expressed in tumors. We termed this collection of NOPs the tumor framome. NOPs represent tumor-specific peptides that are different from wild-type proteins and may be strongly immunogenic. We describe a class of hidden NOPs that derive from structural genomic variants involving an upstream protein coding gene driving expression and translation of noncoding regions of the genome downstream of a rearrangement breakpoint, i.e., where no gene annotation or evidence for transcription exists. The entire collection of NOPs represents a vast number of possible neoantigens particularly in tumors with many structural genomic variants and a low number of missense mutations. We show that NOPs are immunogenic and epitopes derived from NOPs can bind to MHC class I molecules. Finally, we provide evidence for the presence of memory T cells specific for hidden NOPs in peripheral blood from a patient with lung cancer. This work highlights NOPs as a major source of possible neoantigens for personalized cancer immunotherapy and provides a rationale for analyzing the complete cancer genome and transcriptome as a basis for the detection of NOPs.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.