Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH) is a neoplastic disorder of hematopoietic origin characterized by inflammatory lesions containing clonal histiocytes (LCH-cells) intermixed with various immune cells, including T cells. In 50-60% of LCH-patients, the somatic BRAFV600E driver mutation, which is common in many cancers, is detected in these LCH-cells in an otherwise quiet genomic landscape. Non-synonymous mutations like BRAFV600E can be a source of neoantigens capable of eliciting effective antitumor CD8+ T cell responses. This requires neopeptides to be stably presented by Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) class I molecules and sufficient numbers of CD8+ T cells at tumor sites. Here, we demonstrate substantial heterogeneity in CD8+ T cell density in n = 101 LCH-lesions, with BRAFV600E mutated lesions displaying significantly lower CD8+ T cell:CD1a+ LCH-cell ratios (p = 0.01) than BRAF wildtype lesions. Because LCH-lesional CD8+ T cell density had no significant impact on event-free survival, we investigated whether the intracellularly expressed BRAFV600E protein is degraded into neopeptides that are naturally processed and presented by cell surface HLA class I molecules. Epitope prediction tools revealed a single HLA class I binding BRAFV600E derived neopeptide (KIGDFGLATEK), which indeed displayed strong to intermediate binding capacity to HLA-A*03:01 and HLA-A*11:01 in an in vitro peptide-HLA binding assay. Mass spectrometry-based targeted peptidomics was used to investigate the presence of this neopeptide in HLA class I presented peptides isolated from several BRAFV600E expressing cell lines with various HLA genotypes. While the HLA-A*02:01 binding BRAF wildtype peptide KIGDFGLATV was traced in peptides isolated from all five cell lines expressing this HLA subtype, KIGDFGLATEK was not detected in the HLA class I peptidomes of two distinct BRAFV600E transduced cell lines with confirmed expression of HLA-A*03:01 or HLA-A*11:01. These data indicate that the in silico predicted HLA class I binding and proteasome-generated neopeptides derived from the BRAFV600E protein are not presented by HLA class I molecules. Given that the BRAFV600E mutation is highly prevalent in chemotherapy refractory LCH-patients who may qualify for immunotherapy, this study therefore questions the efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy in LCH.

Additional Metadata
Keywords BRAF, Human Leukocyte Antigen, Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis, neoantigen, neopeptide, T cell
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2019.03045, hdl.handle.net/1765/124342
Journal Frontiers in Immunology
Citation
Kemps, P.G. (Paul G.), Zondag, T.C.E, Steenwijk, E.C. (Eline C.), Andriessen, Q. (Quirine), Borst, J. (Jelske), Vloemans, S. (Sandra), … van Halteren, A.G.S. (2019). Apparent Lack of BRAFV600E Derived HLA Class I Presented Neoantigens Hampers Neoplastic Cell Targeting by CD8+ T Cells in Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis. Frontiers in Immunology, 10. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2019.03045