Combining epigenetic and immunotherapy to combat cancer

Katherine B. Chiappinelli, Cynthia Zahnow, Nita Ahuja, Stephen B Baylin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The most exciting recent advance for achieving durable management of advanced human cancers is immunotherapy, especially the concept of immune checkpoint blockade. However, with the exception of melanoma, most patients do not respond to immunotherapy alone. A growing body of work has shown that epigenetic drugs, specifically DNA methyltransferase inhibitors, can upregulate immune signal The most exciting recent advance for achieving durable management of advanced human cancers is immunotherapy, especially the concept of immune checkpoint blockade. However, with the exception of melanoma, most patients do not respond to immunotherapy alone. A growing body of work has shown that epigenetic drugs, specifically DNA methyltransferase inhibitors, can upregulate immune signaling in epithelial cancer cells through demethylation of endogenous retroviruses and cancer testis antigens. These demethylating agents may induce T-cell attraction and enhance immune checkpoint inhibitor efficacy in mouse models. Current clinical trials are testing this combination therapy as a potent new cancer management strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1683-1689
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Research
Volume76
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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