The tumor microenvironment hosts antibody-secreting cells (ASCs) associated with a favorable prognosis in several types of cancer. Patient-derived antibodies have diagnostic and therapeutic potential; yet, it remains unclear how antibodies gain autoreactivity and target tumors. Here, we found that somatic hypermutations (SHMs) promote antibody antitumor reactivity against surface autoantigens in high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HGSOC). Patient-derived tumor cells were frequently coated with IgGs. Intratumoral ASCs in HGSOC were both mutated and clonally expanded and produced tumor-reactive antibodies that targeted MMP14, which is abundantly expressed on the tumor cell surface. The reversion of monoclonal antibodies to their germline configuration revealed two types of classes: one dependent on SHMs for tumor binding and a second with germline-encoded autoreactivity. Thus, tumor-reactive autoantibodies are either naturally occurring or evolve through an antigen-driven selection process. These findings highlight the origin and potential applicability of autoantibodies directed at surface antigens for tumor targeting in cancer patients.
- B cells
- antibody-mediated immune response
- ovarian cancer
- plasma cells