Adoptive T cell therapy (ATT) can achieve regression of large tumors in mice and humans; however, tumors frequently recur. High target peptide-major histocompatibility complex-I (pMHC) affinity and T cell receptor (TCR)-pMHC affinity are thought to be critical to preventing relapse. Here, we show that targeting two epitopes of the same antigen in the same cancer cells via monospecific T cells, which have similar pMHC and pMHC-TCR affinity, results in eradication of large, established tumors when targeting the apparently subdominant but not the dominant epitope. Only the escape but not the rejection epitope required postproteasomal trimming, which was regulated by IFN-γ, allowing IFN-γ–unresponsive cancer variants to evade. The data describe a novel immune escape mechanism and better define suitable target epitopes for ATT.
- Submitted: 3 May 2016
- Accepted: 31 August 2016
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