Targeting the tumor microenvironment: removing obstruction to anticancer immune responses and immunotherapy

Ann Oncol. 2016 Aug;27(8):1482-92. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdw168. Epub 2016 Apr 10.


The tumor microenvironment (TME) is an integral part of cancer. Recognition of the essential nature of the TME in cancer evolution has led to a shift from a tumor cell-centered view of cancer development to the concept of a complex tumor ecosystem that supports tumor growth and metastatic dissemination. Accordingly, novel targets within the TME have been uncovered that can help direct and improve the actions of various cancer therapies, notably immunotherapies that work by potentiating host antitumor immune responses. Here, we review the composition of the TME, how this attenuates immunosurveillance, and discuss existing and potential strategies aimed at targeting cellular and molecular TME components.

Keywords: angiogenesis; anticancer therapy; cancer; immunosuppression; immunotherapy; tumor microenvironment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular*
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Tumor Microenvironment / drug effects*