Chemokines in the cancer microenvironment and their relevance in cancer immunotherapy

Nat Rev Immunol. 2017 Sep;17(9):559-572. doi: 10.1038/nri.2017.49. Epub 2017 May 30.


The tumour microenvironment is the primary location in which tumour cells and the host immune system interact. Different immune cell subsets are recruited into the tumour microenvironment via interactions between chemokines and chemokine receptors, and these populations have distinct effects on tumour progression and therapeutic outcomes. In this Review, we focus on the main chemokines that are found in the human tumour microenvironment; we elaborate on their patterns of expression, their regulation and their roles in immune cell recruitment and in cancer and stromal cell biology, and we consider how they affect cancer immunity and tumorigenesis. We also discuss the potential of targeting chemokine networks, in combination with other immunotherapies, for the treatment of cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chemokines / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Receptors, Chemokine / immunology*
  • Tumor Microenvironment / immunology*


  • Chemokines
  • Receptors, Chemokine