Targeting immune effector cells to promote antibody-induced cytotoxicity in cancer immunotherapy

Trends Immunol. 2011 Nov;32(11):510-6. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2011 Sep 8.


Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are in widespread use for the treatment of cancer. Their success as cancer therapeutics relies substantially on their ability to engage the immune system. Specifically, Fc-receptor-expressing immune cells mediate the killing of tumor cells by mAbs. Stimulation of these immune effector cells might therefore represent a promising strategy to enhance the therapeutic potential of mAbs. For instance, stimulation of natural killer cells, γδ T cells, macrophages, or dendritic cells can be used to enhance antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity, phagocytosis or even tumor vaccine effects. Here, we review several ways to improve the antitumor efficacy of mAbs by combining them with therapies that are directed against immune effector cells.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody-Dependent Cell Cytotoxicity*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / immunology


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta