Authors: Da Gama Duarte, Jessica; Woods, Katherine; Quigley, Luke T.; Deceneux, Cyril; Tutuka, Candani; Witkowski, Tom; Ostrouska, Simone; Hudson, Chris; Tsao, Simon Chang-Hao; Pasam, Anupama; Dobrovic, Alexander; Blackburn, Jonathan M.; Cebon, Jonathan; Behren, Andreas
Issue: Cancers (Basel). 2021 Apr 9;13(8):1805.
Antibodies that block immune regulatory checkpoints (programmed cell death 1, PD-1 and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4, CTLA-4) to mobilise immunity have shown unprecedented clinical efficacy against cancer, demonstrating the importance of antigen-specific tumour recognition. Despite this, many patients still fail to benefit from these treatments and additional approaches are being sought. These include mechanisms that boost antigen-specific immunity either by vaccination or adoptive transfer of effector cells. Other than neoantigens, epigenetically regulated and shared antigens such as NY-ESO-1 are attractive targets; however, tissue expression is often heterogeneous and weak. Therefore, peptide-specific therapies combining multiple antigens rationally selected to give additive anti-cancer benefits are necessary to achieve optimal outcomes. Here, we show that Ropporin-1 (ROPN1) and 1B (ROPN1B), cancer restricted antigens, are highly expressed and immunogenic, inducing humoral immunity in patients with advanced metastatic melanoma. By multispectral immunohistochemistry, 88.5% of melanoma patients tested (n = 54/61) showed ROPN1B expression in at least 1 of 2/3 tumour cores in tissue microarrays. Antibody responses against ROPN1A and ROPN1B were detected in 71.2% of melanoma patients tested (n = 74/104), with increased reactivity seen with more advanced disease stages. Thus, ROPN1A and ROPN1B may indeed be viable targets for cancer immunotherapy, alone or in combination with other cancer antigens, and could be combined with additional therapies such as immune checkpoint blockade.