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Strength of immune selection in tumors varies with sex and age.

  • Castro, Andrea
  • Pyke, Rachel Marty
  • Zhang, Xinlian
  • Thompson, Wesley Kurt
  • Day, Chi-Ping
  • Alexandrov, Ludmil B
  • Zanetti, Maurizio
  • Carter, Hannah
Publication Date
Aug 17, 2020
eScholarship - University of California
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Individual MHC genotype constrains the mutational landscape during tumorigenesis. Immune checkpoint inhibition reactivates immunity against tumors that escaped immune surveillance in approximately 30% of cases. Recent studies demonstrated poorer response rates in female and younger patients. Although immune responses differ with sex and age, the role of MHC-based immune selection in this context is unknown. We find that tumors in younger and female individuals accumulate more poorly presented driver mutations than those in older and male patients, despite no differences in MHC genotype. Younger patients show the strongest effects of MHC-based driver mutation selection, with younger females showing compounded effects and nearly twice as much MHC-II based selection. This study presents evidence that strength of immune selection during tumor development varies with sex and age, and may influence the availability of mutant peptides capable of driving effective response to immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy.

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