Cancer immunotherapy and immune-related response assessment: The role of radiologists in the new arena of cancer treatment

Eur J Radiol. 2015 Jul;84(7):1259-68. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2015.03.017. Epub 2015 Mar 23.


The recent advances in the clinical application of anti-cancer immunotherapeutic agents have opened a new arena for the treatment of advanced cancers. Cancer immunotherapy is associated with a variety of important radiographic features in the assessments of tumor response and immune-related adverse events, which calls for radiologists' awareness and in-depth knowledge on the topic. This article will provide the state-of-the art review and perspectives of cancer immunotherapy, including its molecular mechanisms, the strategies for immune-related response assessment on imaging and their pitfalls, and the emerging knowledge of radiologic manifestations of immune-related adverse events. The cutting edge clinical and radiologic investigations are presented to provide future directions.

Keywords: Cancer; Drug toxicity; Immunotherapy; Oncologic imaging; Tumor response assessment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy* / trends
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cancer Vaccines