In this commentary, we advance the notion that mutant KRAS (mKRAS) is an ideal tumor neoantigen that is amenable for targeting by the adaptive immune system. Recent progress highlights key advances on various fronts that validate mKRAS as a molecular target and support further pursuit as an immunological target. Because mKRAS is an intracellular membrane localized protein and not normally expressed on the cell surface, we surmise that proteasome degradation will generate short peptides that bind to HLA class I (HLA-I) molecules in the endoplasmic reticulum for transport through the Golgi for display on the cell surface. T-cell receptors (TCR)αβ and antibodies have been isolated that specifically recognize mKRAS encoded epitope(s) or haptenated-mKRAS peptides in the context of HLA-I on tumor cells. Case reports using adoptive T-cell therapy provide proof of principle that KRAS G12D can be successfully targeted by the immune system in patients with cancer. Among the challenges facing investigators is the requirement of precision medicine to identify and match patients to available mKRAS peptide/HLA therapeutics and to increase the population coverage by targeting additional mKRAS epitopes. Ultimately, we envision mKRAS-directed immunotherapy as an effective treatment option for selected patients that will complement and perhaps synergize with small-molecule mKRAS inhibitors and targeted mKRAS degraders.

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