Research Papers:

Characterization and dynamics of specific T cells against nucleophosmin-1 (NPM1)-mutated peptides in patients with NPM1-mutated acute myeloid leukemia

Fabio Forghieri, Giovanni Riva, Ivana Lagreca, Patrizia Barozzi, Daniela Vallerini, Monica Morselli, Ambra Paolini, Paola Bresciani, Elisabetta Colaci, Monica Maccaferri, Andrea Gilioli, Vincenzo Nasillo, Andrea Messerotti, Valeria Pioli, Laura Arletti, Davide Giusti, Francesca Bettelli, Melania Celli, Francesca Donatelli, Giorgia Corradini, Sabrina Basso, Antonella Gurrado, Monica Cellini, Tommaso Trenti, Roberto Marasca, Franco Narni, Maria Paola Martelli, Brunangelo Falini, Leonardo Potenza, Mario Luppi and Patrizia Comoli _

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Oncotarget. 2019; 10:869-882. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.26617

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Fabio Forghieri1,*, Giovanni Riva2,*, Ivana Lagreca1,*, Patrizia Barozzi1, Daniela Vallerini1, Monica Morselli1, Ambra Paolini1, Paola Bresciani1, Elisabetta Colaci1, Monica Maccaferri1, Andrea Gilioli1, Vincenzo Nasillo1, Andrea Messerotti1, Valeria Pioli1, Laura Arletti1, Davide Giusti1, Francesca Bettelli1, Melania Celli1, Francesca Donatelli1, Giorgia Corradini1, Sabrina Basso3,4, Antonella Gurrado3,4, Monica Cellini5, Tommaso Trenti2, Roberto Marasca1, Franco Narni1, Maria Paola Martelli6, Brunangelo Falini6, Leonardo Potenza1,*, Mario Luppi1,* and Patrizia Comoli3,4,*

1Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Section of Hematology, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Policlinico, Modena, Italy

2Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Unità Sanitaria Locale, Modena, Italy

3Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Unit, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy

4Cell Factory, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy

5Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Section of Pediatric Hemato-Oncology, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Policlinico, Modena, Italy

6Institute of Hematology, Centro di Ricerca Emato-Oncologico, University of Perugia, Ospedale S. Maria della Misericordia, S. Andrea delle Fratte, Perugia, Italy

*These authors equally contributed to this work

Correspondence to:

Patrizia Comoli, email: [email protected]

Keywords: acute myeloid leukemia; immunity; NPM1 mutation; T cell therapy

Received: October 17, 2018     Accepted: January 03, 2019     Published: January 25, 2019


Nucleophosmin(NPM1)-mutated protein, a leukemia-specific antigen, represents an ideal target for AML immunotherapy. We investigated the dynamics of NPM1-mutated-specific T cells on PB and BM samples, collected from 31 adult NPM1-mutated AML patients throughout the disease course, and stimulated with mixtures of 18 short and long peptides (9-18mers), deriving from the complete C-terminal of the NPM1-mutated protein. Two 9-mer peptides, namely LAVEEVSLR and AVEEVSLRK (13.9–14.9), were identified as the most immunogenic epitopes. IFNγ-producing NPM1-mutated-specific T cells were observed by ELISPOT assay after stimulation with peptides 13.9–14.9 in 43/85 (50.6%) PB and 34/80 (42.5%) BM samples. An inverse correlation between MRD kinetics and anti-leukemic specific T cells was observed. Cytokine Secretion Assays allowed to predominantly and respectively identify Effector Memory and Central Memory T cells among IFNγ–producing and IL2–producing T cells. Moreover, NPM1-mutated-specific CTLs against primary leukemic blasts or PHA-blasts pulsed with different peptide pools could be expanded ex vivo from NPM1-mutated AML patients or primed in healthy donors. We describe the spontaneous appearance and persistence of NPM1-mutated-specific T cells, which may contribute to the maintenance of long-lasting remissions. Future studies are warranted to investigate the potential role of both autologous and allogeneic adoptive immunotherapy in NPM1-mutated AML patients.

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