Anti-tumor immunity in head and neck cancer: Understanding the evidence, how tumors escape and immunotherapeutic approaches

Clint T. Allen, Paul E. Clavijo, Carter Van Waes, Zhong Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Many carcinogen- and human papilloma virus (HPV)-associated head and neck cancers (HNSCC) display a hematopoietic cell infiltrate indicative of a T-cell inflamed phenotype and an underlying anti-tumor immune response. However, by definition, these tumors have escaped immune elimination and formed a clinically significant malignancy. A number of both genetic and environmental mechanisms may allow such immune escape, including selection of poorly antigenic cancer cell subsets, tumor produced proinflammatory and immunosuppressive cytokines, recruitment of immunosuppressive immune cell subsets into the tumor and expression of checkpoint pathway components that limit T-cell responses. Here, we explore concepts of antigenicity and immunogenicity in solid tumors, summarize the scientific and clinical data that supports the use of immunotherapeutic approaches in patients with head and neck cancer, and discuss immune-based treatment approaches currently in clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2397-2414
Number of pages18
JournalCancers
Volume7
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 9 2015

Keywords

  • Adaptive immunity
  • Antigenicity
  • Checkpoint inhibitors
  • Immunogenicity
  • Immunosuppression
  • Immunotherapy
  • Innate immunity
  • Syngeneic mouse models
  • Tumor antigen
  • Vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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