Targeting STAT3 in Cancer Immunotherapy

Mol Cancer. 2020 Sep 24;19(1):145. doi: 10.1186/s12943-020-01258-7.


As a point of convergence for numerous oncogenic signaling pathways, signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is central in regulating the anti-tumor immune response. STAT3 is broadly hyperactivated both in cancer and non-cancerous cells within the tumor ecosystem and plays important roles in inhibiting the expression of crucial immune activation regulators and promoting the production of immunosuppressive factors. Therefore, targeting the STAT3 signaling pathway has emerged as a promising therapeutic strategy for numerous cancers. In this review, we outline the importance of STAT3 signaling pathway in tumorigenesis and its immune regulation, and highlight the current status for the development of STAT3-targeting therapeutic approaches. We also summarize and discuss recent advances in STAT3-based combination immunotherapy in detail. These endeavors provide new insights into the translational application of STAT3 in cancer and may contribute to the promotion of more effective treatments toward malignancies.

Keywords: CAR-T; Cancer; Immune checkpoint blockade; Immunosuppression; Immunotherapy; STAT3.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunity / drug effects
  • Immunity / immunology
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / immunology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Tumor Microenvironment / drug effects
  • Tumor Microenvironment / immunology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • STAT3 protein, human