Top 10 Challenges in Cancer Immunotherapy

Immunity. 2020 Jan 14;52(1):17-35. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2019.12.011.


Cancer immunotherapy is a validated and critically important approach for treating patients with cancer. Given the vast research and clinical investigation efforts dedicated to advancing both endogenous and synthetic immunotherapy approaches, there is a need to focus on crucial questions and define roadblocks to the basic understanding and clinical progress. Here, we define ten key challenges facing cancer immunotherapy, which range from lack of confidence in translating pre-clinical findings to identifying optimal combinations of immune-based therapies for any given patient. Addressing these challenges will require the combined efforts of basic researchers and clinicians, and the focusing of resources to accelerate understanding of the complex interactions between cancer and the immune system and the development of improved treatment options for patients with cancer.

Keywords: CAR T; T cell engagers; adaptive immune resistance; biomarkers; bispecific antibodies; cancer immune phenotypes; cancer immunotherapy; cellular therapy; immuno-oncology; intrinsic immune resistance; primary immune escape; secondary immune escape; synthetic immunity; tumor mutational burden.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Tumor Microenvironment / immunology