Cancer testis antigens (CTAs) are promising cancer associated antigens in solid tumors, but in acute myeloid leukemia, dense promoter methylation silences their expression. Leukemia cell lines exposed to HMAs induce expression of CTAs. We hypothesized that AML patients treated with standard of care decitabine (20mg/m2 per day for 10 days) would demonstrate induced expression of CTAs. Peripheral blood blasts serially isolated from AML patients treated with decitabine were evaluated for CTA gene expression and demethylation. Induction of NY-ESO-1 and MAGEA3/A6, were observed following decitabine. Re-expression of NY-ESO-1 and MAGEA3/A6 was associated with both promoter specific and global (LINE-1) hypomethylation. NY-ESO-1 and MAGEA3/A6 mRNA levels were increased irrespective of clinical response, suggesting that these antigens might be applicable even in patients who are not responsive to HMA therapy. Circulating blasts harvested after decitabine demonstrate induced NY-ESO-1 expression sufficient to activate NY-ESO-1 specific CD8+ T-cells. Induction of CTA expression sufficient for recognition by T-cells occurs in AML patients receiving decitabine. Vaccination against NY-ESO-1 in this patient population is feasible.
Srivastava, P., Paluch, B. E., Matsuzaki, J., James, S. R., Collamat-Lai, G., Blagitko-Dorfs, N., … Griffiths, E. A. (2016). Induction of cancer testis antigen expression in circulating acute myeloid leukemia blasts following hypomethylating agent monotherapy. Oncotarget, 7(11), 12840–12856. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7326