Annual Review Issue 2019: Cancer immunology, inflammation and tolerance

Annual Review Issue 2019 thumbnailIn the last decade, groundbreaking achievements have been obtained in the field of oncology. These have been fueled by the strong belief that a better knowledge of genetic or molecular mechanisms sustaining cancer growth could be key for more efficacious treatments. The results of a number of clinical trials showed that only a minority of patients benefited from targeted therapies, thus underlying that something else was missing in the scenario composed by molecular signatures, trunk and branch mutations, and conventional histopathological features to expand clinical results to most patients.

Clinical advances in immunotherapy were built on four main discoveries: (i) the biological understanding that cancer immunoediting, a key mechanism through which tumor cells overcome the immune response, paradoxically promotes cancer development and growth; (ii) the identification of the remarkable genetic and immunologic heterogeneity of human tumors; (iii) the preclinical evidence that efficient anticancer strategies should focus on the simultaneous targeting of multiple pathways; (iv) the appreciation from ex vivo clinical data of the concept of tumor microenvironment (TME), namely the existence, along with tumor cells, of non-tumor components that heavily affect tumor growth and survival. In this year’s Annual Review Issue, we have decided to focus on preclinical and clinical advances through which immunotherapy came of age. To cover such a large and diverse series of topics, we called upon a group of experts who are leading authorities in their respective fields to produce cutting-edge review articles.

Thumbnail image: excerpt from Figure 1, Mandalà & Rutkowski (2019). Rational combination of cancer immunotherapy in melanoma. Virchows Arch 474: 433.

Cancer immunology, inflammation, and tolerance: an introduction. Stefan Dirnhofer & Alfred Zippelius.

Immunosuppressive circuits in tumor microenvironment and their influence on cancer treatment efficacy. Alessandra Tuccitto, Eriomina Shahaj, Elisabetta Vergani, et al.

Recent success and limitations of immune checkpoint inhibitors for cancer: a lesson from melanoma. Margaret Ottaviano, Sabino De Placido & Paolo Antonio Ascierto.

Rational combination of cancer immunotherapy in melanoma. Mario Mandalà & Piotr Rutkowski.

Adoptive cellular therapies: the current landscape. Maartje W. Rohaan, Sofie Wilgenhof & John B. A. G. Haanen.

Integrating histopathology, immune biomarkers, and molecular subgroups in solid cancer: the next step in precision oncology. Nicolas A. Giraldo, J. David Peske, Catherine Sautès-Fridman, et al.

Predictive potential and need for standardization of PD-L1 immunohistochemistry. Spasenija Savic Prince & Lukas Bubendorf.

Immune tumor board: integral part in the multidisciplinary management of cancer patients treated with cancer immunotherapy. Heinz Läubli, Stefan Dirnhofer & Alfred Zippelius.

Genetic alterations of 9p24 in lymphomas and their impact for cancer (immuno-)therapy. Thomas Menter & Alexandar Tzankov.

Precision immunoprofiling by image analysis and artificial intelligence. Viktor H. Koelzer, Korsuk Sirinukunwattana, Jens Rittscher, et al.