Tumor Microenvironment and Immunotherapy in Head and Neck Cancer
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2022) | Viewed by 5104
Interests: cancer immunology; antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity; immunotherapy; head and neck cancer; translational research
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The tumor microenvironment consists of tumor cells, immunological cells, stromal cells and endothelial cells. All of these components interact with each other directly through cell-to-cell contact or through messengers such as interleukins, cytokines, growth factors and chemokines. The tumor microenvironment drives cancer immune phenotype and allows for the identification of inflamed tumors, excluded tumors and deserted tumors.
In head and neck cancer (HNC), the predominant immune phenotype is related to the etiology of the tumor: smoking or virus. However, all the three phenotypes may be represented regardless of etiology. This implies that the first step to approach HNC is to identify which immunophenotype we are facing. Indeed, each phenotype shows distinctive escape mechanisms. Consequently, each immunophenotype requires the reactivation or the inhibition of distinct immune pathways. Therefore, the best immunotherapy approach to head and neck cancer depends on the dominant escape mechanism which, in turn, links to the immune phenotype. For instance, immune check-point inhibitors are more efficient in inflamed tumors, but almost completely inefficient in desert tumors.
In conclusion, the challenge of immunotherapy in HNC is first of all to identify the immunophenotype of the single tumor we are facing; second, to identify potential specific targets of the phenotype; third, to develop drugs directed against the targets; and finally, to test the drug(s) in clinical practice. The goal is to lead to a more informed use of immunotherapy, better selecting the patients to be treated and with which drug. This special issue is focused on the recent scientific progresses achieved in this field.
Dr. Marco Carlo Merlano
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- tumor microenvironment
- head and neck cancer
- inflamed tumors
- excluded tumors
- desert tumors