Tumor specific neoantigens, encoded by somatic mutations, are recognized by T cells, inducing anti-tumor immune responses. This renders neoantigens viable targets for personalized cancer vaccines. However, the identification of immunogenic neoantigens remains suboptimal. Understanding how immune selective pressure-mediated tumor evolution and neoantigen editing contribute to emergence of immunogenic neoantigens may improve prediction accuracy. In this study, we aimed to model tumor evolution and heterogeneity under immune pressure using three preclinical models of lung cancer with common driver mutations, Kras G12D/+ and p53 -/-, namely KPA, KPC, and HKP1, subcutaneously implanted in immunocompetent C57BL/6 (B6) and immune-deficient Rag1-/- mice. Our data suggest that despite shared driver mutations identified by whole exome and RNA-seq, tumor growth in vivo varied between tumor models. KPA tumors were immunogenic, as they were controlled in B6 mice but rapidly progressed in Rag1-/- mice, suggesting immunoediting of KPA-specific neoantigens. In contrast, HKP1 was non-immunogenic, with tumors progressing regardless of immune competency. KPC showed moderate tumor control in B6 mice, which was lost in Rag1-/- mice. We then estimated the cancer cell fraction on every mutation based on phylogenetic reconstruction. Immunogenic KPA tumors had significantly lower mutation burden in B6 than in Rag1-/- mice and the fraction of cell line mutations edited in vivo was significantly higher, suggesting active immunoediting in the former. Non-immunogenic HKP1 tumors did not show significant differences in mutation burden nor fraction of mutations edited between B6 and Rag1-/- mice. The immunogenicity was reflected in the immune infiltrate levels within tumors, with KPA being highly infiltrated by activated CD4 and CD8 T cells compared to KPC. HKP1 tumors showed increased infiltration of suppressive regulatory T cells. T cell receptor (TCR) sequencing on lung tumors showed that clonal expansion is strongly associated with immunogenicity. KPA tumors showed significantly higher TCR clustering with less diversity compared to KPC and more than HKP1. Following a simple approach to study the immunogenicity of shared neoantigens to elicit cross-protective anti-tumor responses, mice were immunized with whole irradiated (IR) tumor cell lines and implanted with live tumor cells (matched and unmatched). While immunization with IR-KPA protected against corresponding tumor implant and moderately against KPC, it did not protect against HKP1, indicating lack of immunogenicity of mutations shared between KPA and HKP1. Further studies testing the anti-tumor responses and characteristics of neoantigens shared between these three related tumor cell lines will inform the conditions under which tumors may escape or regress and help improve neoantigen identifying algorithms.

Citation Format: Mariam Mathew George, Jayon Lihm, Hyejin Choi, Yuval Elhanati, Stephen Martis, Marta Luksza, Benjamin Greenbaum, Jedd D. Wolchok, Taha Merghoub. Modeling tumor immunoediting under immune selective pressure to inform neoantigen landscape dynamics for effective cancer vaccines [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2024; Part 1 (Regular Abstracts); 2024 Apr 5-10; San Diego, CA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2024;84(6_Suppl):Abstract nr 4093.