Very low mutation burden is a feature of inflamed recurrent glioblastomas responsive to cancer immunotherapy.

Abstract

Several immunotherapy clinical trials in recurrent glioblastoma have reported long-term survival benefits in 10-20% of patients. Here we perform genomic analysis of tumor tissue from recurrent WHO grade IV glioblastoma patients acquired prior to immunotherapy intervention. We report that very low tumor mutation burden is associated with longer survival after recombinant polio virotherapy or after immune checkpoint blockade in recurrent glioblastoma patients. A relationship between tumor mutation burden and survival is not observed in cohorts of immunotherapy naïve newly diagnosed or recurrent glioblastoma patients. Transcriptomic analyses reveal an inverse relationship between tumor mutation burden and enrichment of inflammatory gene signatures in cohorts of recurrent, but not newly diagnosed glioblastoma tumors, implying that a relationship between tumor mutation burden and tumor-intrinsic inflammation evolves upon recurrence.

Department

Description

Provenance

Citation

Published Version (Please cite this version)

10.1038/s41467-020-20469-6

Publication Info

Gromeier, Matthias, Michael C Brown, Gao Zhang, Xiang Lin, Yeqing Chen, Zhi Wei, Nike Beaubier, Hai Yan, et al. (2021). Very low mutation burden is a feature of inflamed recurrent glioblastomas responsive to cancer immunotherapy. Nature communications, 12(1). p. 352. 10.1038/s41467-020-20469-6 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/22380.

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.

Scholars@Duke

Gromeier

Matthias Gromeier

Cless Family Distinguished Professor in Neuro-Oncology

I am a classically trained virologist with a focus on molecular mechanisms of RNA virus pathogenesis. My career is dedicated to unraveling RNA virus:host relations and devising methods of exploiting them for cancer immunotherapy and vaccine design. My background is in translation regulation and mRNA metabolism, viral RNA sensing and innate immunity, and cancer immunology and immunotherapy. Basic mechanistic research in my laboratory is supporting an ambitious clinical translational research program with active multi-center clinical trials in several cancer indications. 

Brown

Michael Brown

Assistant Professor in Neurosurgery

Dr. Brown’s research focuses on leveraging intratumor innate immunity for cancer immunotherapy, particularly in the context of malignant brain tumors. Dr. Brown's lab uses mouse cancer models, ex vivo human tumor slice culture assays, and clinical trial associated specimens to decode mechanisms by which intratumor innate immune cells control cancer immune surveillance and develop novel in situ vaccine approaches that engage endogenous antitumor T cells. The Brown lab also collaborates with clinicians and other research groups to facilitate the translation of novel therapies, define determinants of successful immunotherapy, and elucidate mechanisms explaining immune dysfunction in patients with cancer.  

He

Yiping He

Associate Professor in Pathology
Desjardins

Annick Desjardins

Professor of Neurosurgery
Herndon

James Emmett Herndon

Professor of Biostatistics & Bioinformatics

Current research interests have application to the design and analysis of cancer clinical trials. Specifically, interests include the use of time-dependent covariables within survival models, the design of phase II cancer clinical trials which minimize some of the logistical problems associated with their conduct, and the analysis of longitudinal studies with informative censoring (in particular, quality of life studies of patients with advanced cancer).

Nair

Smita K Nair

Professor in Surgery

I have 22 years of experience in the field of cancer vaccines and immunotherapy and I am an accomplished T cell immunologist. Laboratory website:
https://surgery.duke.edu/immunology-inflammation-immunotherapy-laboratory

Current projects in the Nair Laboratory:
1] Dendritic cell vaccines using tumor-antigen encoding RNA (mRNA, total tumor RNA, amplified tumor mRNA)
2] Local immune receptor modulation using mRNA that encodes for antibodies, receptor-ligands, cytokines, chemokines and toll-like receptors (current target list: CTLA4, GITR, PD1, TIM3, LAG3, OX40 and 41BB)
3] Combination therapies for cancer: cytotoxic therapy (radiation, chemo and oncolytic poliovirus therapy) with dendritic cell-based vaccines and immune checkpoint blockade
4] Adoptive T cell therapy using tumor RNA-transfected dendritic cells to expand tumor-specific T cells ex vivo
5] Adoptive T cell therapy using PSMA CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) RNA-transfected T cells
6] Direct injection of tumor antigen encoding RNA (targeting antigens to dendric cells in vivo using nanoparticles and aptamers)

Khasraw

Mustafa Khasraw

Professor of Neurosurgery

I am a physician-scientist with a background in medical oncology and neuro-oncology, with affiliations to multiple departments, research, and training programs at Duke. 

I lead a Tumor Immunobiology Laboratory where we use various wet and dry lab techniques to understand the interactions between tumors and the immune system. Our goal is to identify vulnerabilities that can be targeted for novel therapies.

I serve as the Deputy Director of the Center for Cancer Immunotherapy at the Duke Cancer Institute where we are tasked to facilitate clinical research and translate promising discoveries made by scientists across various departments and cancer types at Duke, particularly in the field of immune and T cell-based therapies.

My team and our laboratory operate in an environment that enables the transition from bench-side basic scientific discoveries to clinical trials, and back to the bench ensuring the evaluation of new treatments for cancer patients.

Peters

Katherine Barnett Peters

Professor of Neurosurgery

Dr. Katy Peters, MD Ph.D. FAAN is an associate professor of neurology and neurosurgery at the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center (PRTBTC) at Duke.   Her academic medical career started at Stanford University School of Medicine, receiving an MD and Ph.D. in Cancer Biology.  After completing a neurology residency at Johns Hopkins University and a fellowship in cognitive neurosciences, Katy joined the PRTBTC as a neuro-oncology fellow.  In 2009, she became a faculty member at PRTBTC.  With a fantastic team of nursing and advanced practice providers, she actively sees and cares for patients with primary brain tumors.  Her research interests include supportive care for brain cancer patients, cognitive dysfunction in cancer patients, and physical function and activity of brain cancer patients.   While she runs clinical trials to treat primary brain tumors, her key interest is on clinical trials that focus on improving brain tumor patients' quality of life and cognition.   In 2019, the PRTBTC designated her as the Director of Supportive Care, thus furthering the PRTBTC and her committee to better the quality of life for brain tumor patients.   She is active in teaching medical school students, residents, fellows, and advanced practice providers and is the Program Director of the PRTBRC neuro-oncology fellowship.     She is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the United Council of Neurologic Subspecialties for neuro-oncology.

Sampson

John Howard Sampson

Robert H., M.D. and Gloria Wilkins Professor of Neurosurgery, in the School of Medicine

Current research activities involve the immunotherapeutic targeting of a tumor-specific mutation in the epidermal growth factor receptor. Approaches used to target this tumor-specific epitope include unarmed and radiolabeled antibody therapy and cell mediated approaches using peptide vaccines and dendritic cells. Another area of interest involves drug delivery to brain tumors. Translational and clinical work is carried out in this area to formulate the relationship between various direct intratumoral infusion parameters and drug distribution within brain tumors and normal brain.

The Duke Brain Tumor Immunotherapy Program (BTIP) has an emphasis on translational research in Neuro-Oncology. There are two main areas of study. The first is novel mechanisms of delivery of large molecular weight molecules, such as monoclonal antibodies, throughout brain intersitial space using novel intracerebral infusion techniques developed by this laboratory. Studies exploring this technology are undertaken in both small and large laboratory animals and patients with brain tumors.

The other focus of the BTIP is translational immunotherapy. In this line of work, dendritic cell vaccination strategies and adoptive T-cell strategies have been developed to target novel and well-characterized tumor-specific antigens in patients with brain tumors. The BTIP integrates well with and works closely with the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke. The BTIP is well funded and currently holds seven NIH grants, including a SPORE in Brain Cancer grant. There are a large number of investigators at various levels so that students will get exposure to various levels of research and mentorship.

McLendon

Roger Edwin McLendon

Professor of Pathology

Brain tumors are diagnosed in more than 20,000 Americans annually. The most malignant neoplasm, glioblastoma, is also the most common. Similarly, brain tumors constitute the most common solid neoplasm in children and include astrocytomas of the cerebellum, brain stem and cerebrum as well as medulloblastomas of the cerebellum.  My colleagues and I have endeavored to translate the bench discoveries of genetic mutations and aberrant protein expressions found in brain tumors to better understand the processes involved in the etiology, pathogenesis, and treatment of brain tumors.  Using the resources of the Preston Robert Brain Tumor Biorepository at Duke, our team, consisting of Henry Friedman, Allan Friedman, and Hai Yan and lead by Darell Bigner, have helped to identify mutations in Isocitrate Dehydrogenase (IDH1 and IDH2) as a marker of good prognosis in gliomas of adults.  This test is now offered at Duke as a clinical test.  Working with the Molecular Pathology Laboratory at Duke, we have also brought testing for TERT promoter region mutations as another major test for classifying gliomas in adults.  Our collaboration with the Toronto Sick Kids Hospital has resulted in prognostic testing for childhood medulloblastomas, primitive neuroectodermal tumors, and ependymomas at Duke.

Bigner

Darell Doty Bigner

E. L. and Lucille F. Jones Cancer Distinguished Research Professor, in the School of Medicine

The Causes, Mechanisms of Transformation and Altered Growth Control and New Therapy for Primary and Metastatic Tumors of the Central Nervous System (CNS).

There are over 16,000 deaths in the United States each year from primary brain tumors such as malignant gliomas and medulloblastomas, and metastatic tumors to the CNS and its covering from systemic tumors such as carcinoma of the lung, breast, colon, and melanoma. An estimated 80,000 cases of primary brain tumors were expected to be diagnosed last year. Of that number, approximately 4,600 diagnosed will be children less than 19 years of age. During the last 20 years, however, there has been a significant increase in survival rates for those with primary malignant brain tumors.

For the last 44 years my research has involved the investigation of the causes, mechanism of transformation and altered growth control, and development of new methods of therapy for primary brain tumors and those metastasizing to the CNS and its coverings. In collaboration with my colleagues in the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, new drugs and those not previously thought to be active against CNS tumors have been identified. Overcoming mechanisms of drug resistance in primary brain tumors are also being pursued.

As the founding Director of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, I help coordinate the research activities of all 37 faculty members in the Brain Tumor Center. These faculty members have projects ranging from very basic research into molecular etiology, molecular epidemiology, signal transduction; translational research performing pre-clinical evaluation of new therapies, and many clinical investigative efforts. I can describe any of the Brain Tumor Center faculty member’s research to third year students and then direct them to specific faculty members with whom the students would like a discussion.

We have identified through genome-wide screening methodology several new target molecules selectively expressed on malignant brain tumors, but not on normal brain. These include EGFRwt, EGFRvIII, and two lacto series gangliosides, 3'-isoLM1 and 3',6'-isoLD1 and chondroitin proteoglycan sulfate. We raised conventional and fully human monoclonal antibodies against most of these targets as well as having developed single fragment chain molecules from naïve human libraries.

My personal research focuses on molecularly targeted therapies of primary and metastatic CNS tumors with monoclonal antibodies and their fragments. Our study we conducted was with a molecule we discovered many years ago, the extracellular matrix molecule, Tenascin. We have treated over 150 malignant brain tumor patients with excellent results with a radiolabeled antibody we developed against Tenascin. We are collaborating with Dr. Ira Pastan at NIH to develop tumor-targeted therapies by fusing single fragment chain molecules from monoclonal antibodies or from naïve human libraries to the truncated fragment of pseudomonas exotoxin A. One example of this is the pseudomonas exotoxin conjugated to a single fragment chain antibody that reacts with wild type EGFR and EGFRvIII, two overexpressed proteins on glioblastoma. The immunotoxin, called D2C7-IT, is currently being investigated in an FDA dose-escalation study, in which patients undergoing treatment of this investigational new drug are showing positive responses. My laboratory is also working with Matthias Gromeier, creator of the oncolytic poliovirus - a re-engineered poliovirus that is lethal to cancer cells, but not lethal to normal cells. The oncolytic poliovirus therapeutic approach has shown such promising results in patients with glioblastoma, that it was recently featured on a on a special two-segment program of 60 Minutes. The next clinical step will be to combine both the virus and the immunotoxin with anti-PD1, an immune checkpoint blockade inhibitor and with anti-CD40, a fully human monoclonal antibody which converts tumor stimulant macrophages into tumor suppressive macrophages. We believe that regional tumor-targeted cytotoxic therapies, such as oncolytic poliovirus and the D2C7 immunotoxin, not only specifically target and destroy tumor cells, but in the process, initiate immune events that promote an in situ vaccine effect. That immune response can be amplified by human checkpoint blockade to engender a long-term systemic immune response that effectively eliminates recurrent and disseminated GBM cells. Ultimately, all three agents may be used together, providing different antigenic targets and cytotoxicity mechanisms.

We have identified through genome-wide screening methodology several new target molecules selectively expressed on malignant brain tumors, but not on normal brain. These include glycoprotein non-metastatic B (GPNMB), a molecule shared with malignant melanoma; MRP3, a member of the multidrug resistant family; and two lacto series gangliosides, 3'-isoLM1 and 3',6'-isoLD1 and chondroitin proteoglycan sulfate. We are raising conventional monoclonal antibodies against all of these targets as well as developing single fragment chain molecules from naïve human libraries. When necessary, affinity maturation in vitro is carried out and the antibodies and fragments are armed either with radioactive iodine, radioactive lutetium, or radioactive Astatine-211. Other constructs are evaluated for unarmed activity and some are armed with Pseudomonas exotoxin. After development of the constructs, they are evaluated in human malignant glioma xenograft systems and then all studies necessary for Investigational New Drug Permits from the Food and Drug Administration are carried out prior to actual clinical trial.

I was senior author on a New England Journal of Medicine paper that was the first to show markedly increased survival in low to intermediate grade gliomas with an isocitrate dehydrogenase mutation.

The first fully funded Specialized Research Center on Primary and Metastatic Tumors to the CNS funded by the National Institutes of Health, of which I was Principal Investigator, was funded for 30 years at which time the type of grant was discontinued. My NCI MERIT Award, which ranked in the upper 1.2 percentile of all NIH grants at the time of its last review, is currently in its 40th year of continuous funding. It is one of the few MERIT awards awarded three consecutive times, and it is the longest continually funded grant of the NCI Division of Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment. My last NCI Award was an Outstanding Investigator Award from 2014 to 2022.

In addition to the representative publications listed, I have made national presentations and international presentations during the past year.

My laboratory has trained over 50 third year medical students, residents, Ph.D. students, and postdoctoral fellows and I have a great deal of experience in career development with some students having advanced all the way from fellowship status to endowed professorships. A major goal with third year medical students is to perform work that can be presented in abstract form at national or international meetings and to obtain publication in major peer-reviewed journals.

Ashley

David Michael Ashley

Rory David Deutsch Distinguished Professor of Neuro-Oncology

My career in cancer research dates more than two decades. I am credentialed in both pediatric and adult neuro-oncology practice and this has been the focus of my efforts in translational research and leadership. As evident from my publication and grant support record, my primary academic focus has been on neurologic tumors, the development of innovative therapies and approaches to care. These efforts have included basic and translational laboratory research. My experience includes moving laboratory findings in brain tumor immunology and epigenetics into early phase clinical trials. I have expertise in immuno-oncology, having developed and clinically tested dendritic cell vaccines and other immuno-therapeutics. My achievements in research have led to change in practice in the care of children and adults with brain tumors, including the introduction of new standards of practice for the delivery of systemic therapy. I am highly regarded for this work, as evidenced by numerous invitations to plenary sessions and symposia of international standing. I have been the principal investigator of a number of important national and international studies, both clinical and pre-clinical. I am recognized as a senior figure and opinion leader in neuro-oncology nationally and internationally. I have held several significant leadership roles, including Director of two major cancer centers, I served as the Chair of Medicine at Deakin University, the Program Director of Cancer Services at University Hospital Barwon Health, and Executive Director of the Western Alliance Academic Health Science Centre (Australia). I began my current position as Director of The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, Head, Preuss Laboratory, in March 2018. In this role, I am responsible for the clinical care, research, and educational program related to Brain Tumor Center. I am also a senior investigational neuro-oncologist within the adult brain tumor program at Duke.


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