IgE immunotherapy: a novel concept with promise for the treatment of cancer

MAbs. 2014 Jan-Feb;6(1):54-72. doi: 10.4161/mabs.27029.


The importance of antibodies in activating immune responses against tumors is now better appreciated with the emergence of checkpoint blockade antibodies and with engineered antibody Fc domains featuring enhanced capacity to focus potent effector cells against cancer cells. Antibodies designed with Fc regions of the IgE class can confer natural, potent, long-lived immune surveillance in tissues through tenacious engagement of high-affinity cognate Fc receptors on distinct, often tumor-resident immune effector cells, and through ability to activate these cells under tumor-induced Th2-biased conditions. Here, we review the properties that make IgE a contributor to the allergic response and a critical player in the protection against parasites, which also support IgE as a novel anti-cancer modality. We discuss IgE-based active and passive immunotherapeutic approaches in disparate in vitro and in vivo model systems, collectively suggesting the potential of IgE immunotherapies in oncology. Translation toward clinical application is now in progress.

Keywords: AllergoOncology; IgE; IgE immunotherapy; antibodies; antibody effector functions; cancer immunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm* / immunology
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm* / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents*
  • Humans
  • Immunization, Passive*
  • Immunoglobulin E* / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin E* / therapeutic use
  • Immunologic Surveillance / drug effects*
  • Neoplasms, Experimental* / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms, Experimental* / immunology


  • Antibodies, Neoplasm
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Immunoglobulin E