by Kelly Broen, Henriette Levenga, Johanna Vos, Kees van Bergen, Hanny Fredrix, Annelies Greupink-Draaisma, Michel Kester, J. H. Frederik Falkenburg, Pieter de Mulder, Theo de Witte, Marieke Griffioen, Harry Dolstra
Nonmyeloablative allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT) can induce remission in patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC), but this graft-versus-tumor (GVT) effect is often accompanied by graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Here, we evaluated minor histocompatibility antigen (MiHA)-specific T cell responses in two patients with metastatic RCC who were treated with reduced-intensity conditioning SCT followed by donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI). One patient had stable disease and emergence of SMCY.A2-specific CD8+ T cells was observed after DLI with the potential of targeting SMCY-expressing RCC tumor cells. The second patient experienced partial regression of lung metastases from whom we isolated a MiHA-specific CTL clone with the capability of targeting RCC cell lines. Whole genome association scanning revealed that this CTL recognizes a novel HLA-B7-restricted MiHA, designated ZAPHIR, resulting from a polymorphism in the splice donor site of the ZNF419 gene. Tetramer analysis showed that emergence of ZAPHIR-specific CD8+ T cells in peripheral blood occurred in the absence of GVHD. Furthermore, the expression of ZAPHIR in solid tumor cell lines indicates the involvement of ZAPHIR-specific CD8+ T cell responses in selective GVT immunity. These findings illustrate that the ZNF419-encoded MiHA ZAPHIR is an attractive target for specific immunotherapy after allogeneic SCT.