Chinese Medical Journal Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Review Highlights Tumor Microenvironment-Targeted Cancer Immunotherapy

Researchers from China explore the role of the tumor microenvironment in cancer immunotherapy using the example of non-small cell lung cancer

BEIJING, June 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is one of the most common and aggressive forms of cancer. Researchers have been exploring effective treatments to improve the survival rates of patients with NSCLC, such as by targeting the immune cells in the tumor microenvironment (TME). However, this approach is not successful in all patients. Now, a research team from China has conducted a detailed review to explore the role of TME in NSCLC and understand its predictive value in immunotherapy—a type of treatment that enables our immune cells to effectively destroy cancer cells.

This review, led by Prof. Bo Zhu from the Third Military Medical University, China, was published online in the Chinese Medical Journal Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine on February 25, 2023.

Previous studies indicate that TME plays an important role in the development of cancer and the responses of cancer cells to immunotherapy. This review goes a step further and details how the cellular and non-cellular components of TME interact to affect NSCLC and its treatment. It underscores the importance of understanding the heterogeneity—the diverse and variable nature of the TME—in improving NSCLC treatment.

The team highlights how different types of immune cells within the TME are in a ‘mixed state’, i.e., they exhibit both antitumor and immunosuppressive properties. They further explain how different subsets of immune cells can be used as direct targets or as predictive biomarkers for NSCLC immunotherapy. Prof. Zhu remarks, “Strategies targeting the immune microenvironment do not focus on the global depletion of all immunosuppressive cells in the TME. The solution should be precisely targeted to distinct cell types using specific antibodies and inhibitors.

For individuals with advanced NSCLC, a single treatment approach can be ineffective. Instead, combining different drugs (antibodies or inhibitors) with chemotherapy or radiation is an alternative approach, which has shown promising outcomes in clinical trials.

Finally, the review discusses the use of bispecific antibodies, that are increasingly gaining popularity. “Bispecific antibodies can simultaneously target two molecules without causing severe side effects. We anticipate that more targeted molecules will be chosen for the development of bispecific antibodies for cancer immunotherapy in the future,” adds Prof. Zhu.

With all the important insights presented in this review, we are sure that researchers will soon identify the best possible treatment for NSCLC, thus improving the lives of many patients globally.


Title of paper: Targeting tumor microenvironment for non-small cell lung cancer immunotherapy

Journal: Chinese Medical Journal Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine


Peifang Wei
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SOURCE Chinese Medical Journal Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine