Purpose: Using next-generation sequencing (NGS), we recently documented T-cell oligoclonality in treatment-nave chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), with evidence indicating T-cell selection by restricted antigens. Experimental Design: Here, we sought to comprehensively assess T-cell repertoire changes during treatment in relation to (i) treatment type [fludarabine-cyclophosphamide-rituximab (FCR) versus ibrutinib (IB) versus rituximab-idelalisib (R-ID)], and (ii) clinical response, by combining NGS immunoprofiling, flow cytometry, and functional bioassays. Results: T-cell clonality significantly increased at (i) 3 months in the FCR and R-ID treatment groups, and (ii) over deepening clinical response in the R-ID group, with a similar trend detected in the IB group. Notably, in constrast to FCR that induced T-cell repertoire reconstitution, B-cell receptor signaling inhibitors (BcRi) preserved pretreatment clones. Extensive comparisons both within CLL as well as against T-cell receptor sequence databases showed little similarity with other entities, but instead revealed major clonotypes shared exclusively by patients with CLL, alluding to selection by conserved CLL-associated antigens. We then evaluated the functional effect of treatments on T cells and found that (i) R-ID upregulated the expression of activation markers in effector memory T cells, and (ii) both BcRi improved antitumor T-cell immune synapse formation, in marked contrast to FCR. Conclusions: Taken together, our NGS immunoprofiling data suggest that BcRi retain T-cell clones that may have developed against CLL-associated antigens. Phenotypic and immune synapse bioassays support a concurrent restoration of functionality, mostly evident for R-ID, arguably contributing to clinical response.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research