Research ArticleCANCER IMMUNOLOGY

The immune system profoundly restricts intratumor genetic heterogeneity

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Science Immunology  23 Nov 2018:
Vol. 3, Issue 29, eaat1435
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aat1435

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Immunoediting of polychromatic tumors

As tumors grow, they evolve genetically. The resulting genetic heterogeneity contributes to the emergence of variants that may ultimately display increased resistance to immune effector mechanisms and enhanced metastatic potential. Milo et al. used multicolor barcoding of a mouse lymphoma line to determine whether increased immune selection pressure by the host accelerates the emergence of dominant clones. When barcoded male lymphoma cells were given to male and female recipients, clonal dominance emerged more rapidly in female recipients because more neoantigens were available to elicit a host T cell response. Checkpoint blockade with anti–PD-1 promoted a similar contraction of intratumor diversity. These findings provide fresh insights into the immunoediting mechanisms by which active antitumor immunity directs the in vivo selection of less immunogenic tumor variants.