Abstract B59: Co-evolution between tumor cells and immune system in the setting of T-cell immunotherapy Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract It is now well established that the hosts adaptive immune system plays an important role in identifying and eliminating cancer cells in much the same way that intracellular pathogens are cleared during an adaptive immune response to infection. From a therapeutic standpoint, the adaptive immune system is unique in that it can co-evolve alongside a developing tumor. However, tumor acquisition of immune evasive phenotypes, such as class-I MHC downregulation, remains a major limitation of successful T-cell immunotherapy. We propose a stochastic model that couples tumor and CD8+ T-cell adaptive immune compartments. This framework accurately models relevant empirical findings, including the growth-threshold conjecture of immune activation, and predicts experimental observations including sneak-through, wherein intermediate-growth threats are penalized relative to their slower- and faster-growing counterparts. We demonstrate that predicted optimal growth strategies depend on whether or not the threat may acquire an immune-evasive phenotype as well as the mode of immune detection. The model is able to accurately characterize age-dependent cancer incidence data as a function of decreasing T-cell turnover and repertoire diversity. Lastly, we quantify therapeutic efficacy of immunotherapy in the setting of an immune-evasive threat. Our model serves as a first attempt at modeling stochastic cancer evolution sculpted by an adaptive immune compartment. Citation Format: Jason T. George, Haven R. Garber, Jeffrey J. Molldrem, Herbert Levine. Co-evolution between tumor cells and immune system in the setting of T-cell immunotherapy [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR Special Conference on Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy; 2018 Nov 27-30; Miami Beach, FL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Immunol Res 2020;8(4 Suppl):Abstract nr B59.

published proceedings

  • Cancer Immunology Research

author list (cited authors)

  • George, J. T., Garber, H. R., Molldrem, J. J., & Levine, H.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • George, Jason T||Garber, Haven R||Molldrem, Jeffrey J||Levine, Herbert

publication date

  • April 2020