Immunotherapy for oesophagogastric cancer

Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2016 Oct;16(10):1197-207. doi: 10.1080/14712598.2016.1213233. Epub 2016 Jul 25.


Introduction: Gastric and oesophageal cancers are a pressing global health problem with high mortality rates and poor outcomes for advanced disease. The mainstay of treatment in the palliative setting has traditionally been chemotherapy, which accrues only modest survival benefits. As with other cancer types, there is increasing interest in the use of immunotherapy approaches to improve outcomes.

Areas covered: This paper reviews the aetiological and genetic characteristics of oesophagogastric (OG) cancers relevant to the application of immunotherapy and outlines the historical, present-day and potential future applications of immunotherapy in their management.

Expert opinion: The use of agents targeting the PD1 pathway have led to impressive and durable responses in a minority of OG cancer patients and it would be expected that combinatorial approaches with chemotherapy, radiotherapy and other biological agents will improve responses further. Identification of clinically robust biomarkers is crucial in refining such approaches moving forwards. The application of modern sequencing technology to the development of personalized neoantigen-based vaccines represents an exciting amalgamation of genomics and immunotherapy, with potentially important clinical implications in OG cancer.

Keywords: Immunotherapy; cancer; gastric; oesophageal.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Cancer Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Immunotherapy / trends
  • Stomach Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cancer Vaccines