Cancer immunotherapy: Challenges and limitations

Pathol Res Pract. 2022 Jan;229:153723. doi: 10.1016/j.prp.2021.153723. Epub 2021 Nov 28.


Although cancer immunotherapy has taken center stage in mainstream oncology inducing complete and long-lasting tumor regression, only a subset of patients receiving treatment respond and others relapse after an initial response. Different tumor types respond differently, and even in cancer types that respond (hot tumors), we still observe tumors that are unresponsive (cold tumors), suggesting the presence of resistance. Hence, the development of intrinsic or acquired resistance is a big challenge for the cancer immunotherapy field. Resistance to immunotherapy, including checkpoint inhibitors, CAR-T cell therapy, oncolytic viruses, and recombinant cytokines arises due to cancer cells employing several mechanisms to evade immunosurveillance.

Keywords: CAR T-cell therapy; Immune checkpoints; Immunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Treatment Failure