Synergizing immunotherapy with molecular-targeted anticancer treatment

Drug Discov Today. 2014 Sep;19(9):1427-32. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2014.03.022. Epub 2014 Mar 28.


The therapeutic opportunity for anticancer kinase inhibitors (KIs) that block cell-signaling pathways is materializing. Yet, these molecular-targeted therapies are not tailored to be allies of the immune system, and often antagonize it despite generating antigenic activity. KIs usually offer an incomplete cure and one culprit is the lack of synergy between the drug and the immune system, a problem that is magnified when the therapeutic context involves HIV-1-induced immunosuppression (AIDS). We outline a strategy to fulfill the therapeutic imperative of recruiting cooperative immune responses. Accordingly, we propose a method to redesign anticancer drugs to harness the antigenic products of drug-induced apoptosis of tumor cells, thus eliciting an adjuvant immune response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / immunology
  • Drug Design
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV-1 / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host / immunology
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors