Treatment of an aggressive orthotopic murine glioblastoma model with combination checkpoint blockade and a multivalent neoantigen vaccine

Connor J. Liu, Maximilian Schaettler, Dylan T. Blaha, Jay A. Bowman-Kirigin, Dale K. Kobayashi, Alexandra J. Livingstone, Diane Bender, Christopher A. Miller, David M. Kranz, Tanner M. Johanns, Gavin P. Dunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Although clinical trials testing immunotherapies in glioblastoma (GBM) have yielded mixed results, new strategies targeting tumor-specific somatic coding mutations, termed “neoantigens,” represent promising therapeutic approaches. We characterized the microenvironment and neoantigen landscape of the aggressive CT2A GBM model in order to develop a platform to test combination checkpoint blockade and neoantigen vaccination. Methods. Flow cytometric analysis was performed on intracranial CT2A and GL261 tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs). Whole-exome DNA and RNA sequencing of the CT2A murine GBM was employed to identify expressed, somatic mutations. Predicted neoantigens were identified using the pVAC-seq software suite, and top-ranking candidates were screened for reactivity by interferon-gamma enzyme linked immunospot assays. Survival analysis was performed comparing neoantigen vaccination, anti-programmed cell death ligand 1 (αPD-L1), or combination therapy. Results. Compared with the GL261 model, CT2A exhibited immunologic features consistent with human GBM including reduced αPD-L1 sensitivity and hypofunctional TILs. Of the 29 CT2A neoantigens screened, we identified neoantigen-specific CD8+ T-cell responses in the intracranial TIL and draining lymph nodes to two H2-Kb restricted (Epb4H471L and Pomgnt1R497L) and one H2-Db restricted neoantigen (Plin2G332R). Survival analysis showed that therapeutic neoantigen vaccination with Epb4H471L, Pomgnt1R497L, and Plin2G332R, in combination with αPD-L1 treatment was superior to αPD-L1 alone. Conclusions. We identified endogenous neoantigen specific CD8+ T cells within an αPD-L1 resistant murine GBM and show that neoantigen vaccination significantly augments survival benefit in combination with αPD-L1 treatment. These observations provide important preclinical correlates for GBM immunotherapy trials and support further investigation into the effects of multimodal immunotherapeutic interventions on antiglioma immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1276-1288
Number of pages13
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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