Tumor reductive therapies and antitumor immunity

Huiqin Guo _ and Kangla Tsung

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:55736-55749. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18469

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Huiqin Guo1* and Kangla Tsung2

1Department of Thoracic Surgery, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Beijing, China

2Department of Surgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA

Correspondence to:

Huiqin Guo, email: [email protected]

Keywords: cancer reductive therapy, cancer immunotherapy, targeted therapy, tumor antigen, immune checkpoint therapy

Received: February 13, 2017    Accepted: May 03, 2017    Published: June 14, 2017


Tumor reductive therapy is to reduce tumor burden through direct killing of tumor cells. So far, there is no report on the connection between antitumor immunity and tumor reductive therapies. In the last few years, a new category of cancer treatment, immunotherapy, emerged and they are categorized separately from classic cytotoxic treatments (chemo and radiation therapy). The most prominent examples include cellular therapies (LAK and CAR-T) and immune checkpoint inhibitors (anti-PD-1 and CTLA-4). Recent advances in clinical immunotherapy and our understanding of the mechanism behind them revealed that these therapies have a closer relationship with classic cancer treatments than we thought. In many cases, the effectiveness of classic therapies is heavily influenced by the status of the underlying antitumor-immunity. On the other hand, immunotherapies have shown better outcome when combined with tumor reductive therapies, not only due to the combined effects of tumor killing by each therapy but also because of a synergy between the two. Many clinical observations can be explained once we start to look at these classic therapies from an immunity standpoint. We have seen their direct effect on tumor antigen in vivo that they impact antitumor immunity more than we have realized. In turn, antitumor immunity contributes to tumor control and destruction as well. This review will take the immunological view of the classic therapies and summarize historical as well as recent findings in animal and clinical studies to make the argument that most of the cancer treatments exert their ultimate efficacy through antitumor immunity.

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