Cancer immunotherapy research is evolving to more targeted strategies

Discoveries in immune pathway research have helped refine cancer immunotherapy strategies to become more targeted.1,2

The History Of Cancer Immune Research1-7

history of cancer immune research history of cancer immune research
  • CAR=chimeric antigen receptor;
  • CSF-1R=colony-stimulating factor 1;
  • CTLA4=cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4;
  • IDO=indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase;
  • PD-1=programmed death-1;
  • PD-L1=programmed death-ligand 1.


With the evolution to more targeted strategies, research is focusing on identifying predictors of individual immune response through specific tumour characteristics and factors in the tumour microenvironment, such as

  • The presence of tumour-infiltrating immune cells8
    • The ability of immune cells to infiltrate the tumour microenvironment may be a key criterion for a variety of immune-directed strategies, and could indicate which tumours are more likely to respond
  • Gene expression patterns in tumours, particularly the genes involved in immune response9
  • Cell surface protein expression
    • PD-L1 expression on tumour cells and tumour-infiltrating immune cells10,11
    • MUC1 expression on tumour cells12
Cancer types reporting presence of tumour-infiltrating immune cells
Melanoma 13,14
Non-small cell lung cancer 15
Urothelial/bladder 16
Gastrointestinal 17-19
Head and neck 20
Renal cell carcinoma 21
Breast 22
Hematological malignancies 23,24