Authors: Au, Lewis; Hatipoglu, Emine; Massy, Marc Robert de; Litchfield, Kevin; Rowan, Andrew; Thompson, Rachael; Schnidrig, Desiree; Byrne, Fiona; Beattie, Gordon; Horswell, Stuart; Fotiadis, Nicos; Hazell, Steve; Nicol, David; Shepherd, Scott Thomas Colville; Fendler, Annika; Mason, Robert; Attig, Jan; Joshi, Kroopa; Uddin, Imran; Becker, Pablo; Sunderland, Mariana Werner; Akarca, Ayse; Puccio, Ignazio; Yang, William; Lund, Tom; Dhillon, Kim; Vasquez, Marcos Duran; Ghorani, Ehsan; Xu, Hang; López, José Ignacio; Green, Anna; Mahadeva, Ula; Borg, Elaine; Mitchison, Miriam; Moore, David; Proctor, Ian; Falzon, Mary; Furness, Andrew; Pickering, Lisa; Reading, James L.; Salgado, Roberto; Marafioti, Teresa; Jamal-Hanjani, Mariam; Consortium, on behalf of the PEACE; Kassiotis, George; Chain, Benny; Larkin, James; Swanton, Charles; Quezada, Sergio A.; Turajlic, Samra; Consortium, on behalf of the TRACERx Renal
Antigen recognition and T-cell mediated cytotoxicity in clear-cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) remains incompletely understood. To address this knowledge gap, we analysed 115 multiregion tumour samples collected from 15 treatment-naïve patients pre- and post-nivolumab therapy, and at autopsy in three patients. We performed whole-exome sequencing, RNAseq, TCRseq, multiplex immunofluorescence and flow cytometry analyses and correlated with clinical response. We observed pre-treatment intratumoural TCR clonal expansions suggesting pre-existing immunity. Nivolumab maintained pre-treatment expanded, clustered TCR clones in responders, suggesting ongoing antigen-driven stimulation of T-cells. T-cells in responders were enriched for expanded TCF7+CD8+ T-cells and upregulated GZMK/B upon nivolumab-binding. By contrast, nivolumab promoted accumulation of new TCR clones in non-responders, replacing pre-treatment expanded clonotypes. In this dataset, mutational features did not correlate with response to nivolumab and human endogenous retrovirus expression correlated indirectly. Our data suggests that nivolumab potentiates clinical responses in ccRCC by binding pre-existing expanded CD8+ T-cells to enhance cytotoxicity.